International Women’s Day will be observed today in the country along with the rest of the world in recognition and celebration of the women and girls who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation and response.
Every year the day is observed to raise awareness about women’s rights and to call for a change.
Talking to Bangladesh Post, Dr Nazneen Ahmed, Country Economist at UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) said, “We always say that a change in perspective is required to ensure gender equality, but no initiatives are taken to bring that change. The change must start from somewhere.”
“Gender discrimination is less prevalent during childhood in terms of education in our country. However, with the increase in educational level the discrimination becomes noticeable. Women account for only one-third of university-level students. Lack of safety for women in the city is one of the reasons behind this proportion, especially for those who come to the capital from remote areas to get enrolled in universities,” she said.
She mentioned the importance of the institutional role in ensuring gender equality.
“Even in terms of employment women are not considered eligible candidates despite having the same qualifications as men since the employer might have to provide maternity leave to a woman at some point. Paternity leaves should be made mandatory in the country to establish gender equality and ensure women’s rights,” she went on to describe.
She also said that every employer should develop a gender policy and create a support system for women to prevent workplace harassment.
This year the day will be observed under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
Dr Fauzia Moslem, President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad told Bangladesh Post that Begum Rokeya, the torchbearer of the movements for women's equal rights, talked about the issue of ensuring gender equality hundred years ago.
“Gender discrimination initiates injustice and violence against women. This discrimination still exists in our country in almost every aspect including social, political, economic and familial. It has been stated in our Constitution that women will have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life. However, we have still not been able to ensure equal rights for women,” she said.
She further said that preventing violence against women is one of the issues that needs to be addressed on an urgent basis.
“Both, immediate and far-reaching programmes should be undertaken to prevent violence against women. And most importantly, the perspective of people has to be changed to ensure gender equality,” she added.
In her statement for International Women's Day, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous said, “Let us make this International Women’s Day a moment to recall that we have the answers not just for SDG 5 but, through the advancement of gender equality, for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. I look forward to working with every one of you to that end.”
Different organizations of the country have chalked out elaborate programmes on the occasion of the day.