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Be vocal for equal rights of women: PM

Dhaka, 17 June, Abnews : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon all Commonwealth states to be vocal in and outside the national territories to ensure equal rights of the women. We will also have to formulate coordinated and united strategies to achieve our goal, while the activities of the women in the global arena should be strengthened. she said. She also added that Bangladesh is committed to accelerating such international initiatives. The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers’ Meeting (10CWAMM) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this afternoon. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat is organizing the three-day event.

Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, Minister of Human Services and Social Security of Guyana Jennifer Webster and Secretary of the Women and Children Affairs Ministry Tariqul Islam also spoke at the inaugural function of the meeting chaired by State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is a promoter to establish world peace, the Prime Minister said for this, ensuring socioeconomic and political empowerment of women is imperative. The Commonwealth countries should exchange their experiences regularly for exploring effective strategies to this end, she said. Sheikh Hasina termed the theme of this triennial meeting Women’s Leadership for Enterprise as suitable and important to empowering women.

I am convinced that the women’s empowerment would be faster if we could establish women’s leadership in the economic sector, she said. The Prime Minister, however, said it would not be so easy to accomplish in a patriarchal global society. So, we will have toformulate strategies taking this challenge into consideration, she said. Despite multifaceted challenges, she said, women across the world are progressing. However, the pace of the development is very slow. Sheikh Hasina said women in the developed world have also been encountering discrimination in getting jobs, salaries and other benefits. They are facing religious and social extremism, she said.

The Prime Minister said the Commonwealth Secretariat since 1985 has been contributing to restoring women’s rights and establishing gender parity in the Commonwealth through convening this ministerial meeting. I would like to thank them for their continuous effort to this end, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the progressive Bangalee Nation characteristically believes in equal rights of man and woman. She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave a solid foundation in the advancement of the Bangalee women. Bangabandhu guaranteed the rights of women to all spheres of life and equal opportunity in the constitution of Bangladesh in 1972, she said.

Following the principles of the Father of the Nation, the Prime Minister said the present government has ensured women’s equal participation in all strata of the society. We have included women at the national level to local levels of the politics and economic decision-making process. We have also given priority to empower poor and disadvantaged women in the society, she said.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has established a unique example in the democratic world in achieving political empowerment of women. The head of the government and the Leader of the House, the Deputy Leader and the Opposition Leader of the House and the Speaker of parliament are all women, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has formulated the National Women Development Policy, while various organizations have been implementing different programs for the development of womenfolk in the society. The Prime Minister said the women are now playing a leadership role in all spheres of the society including the economic field.

They are contributing more purposefully to the agricultural development. Bangladesh, therefore, has become the role model in women empowerment across the world, she said. Sheikh Hasina said her government has enacted the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act to stop all forms of violence against women and children. We have also framed the Domestic Violence Protection and Prevention Act and the Human Trafficking Prevention and Protection Act, she said.

Wishing the success of the meeting, the Prime Minister hoped that at the end of the meeting, the participants would come out with the future course of action to face the challenges in mainstreaming women across the world. We will also get some important recommendations from the meeting which will ease challenges of women entrepreneurs across the world, she said.  Earlier, Sheikh Hasina handed over awards to the winners of an essay competition on the Commonwealth.

Officials said that the 10WAMM would focus on increasing women’s access to finance, overcoming social barriers to women’s ntrepreneurship, emerging trends in women’s enterprise, building partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society to advance women in enterprise. Since its inception in July 1985 in Nairobi in Kenya, the triennial meeting is organized in different countries across the globe. The 9th triennial CWAMM was held at Bridgetown in Barbados in June 2010, while the 8th CWAMM was held at Kampala in Uganda in June 2007.



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