Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina on Friday said Bangladesh has to be built as a developed nation with the participation of all in unison amid the rise-and-shine of women.
“Amid this rise-and-shine of women in the country, we all together have to build Bangladesh, which has already attained the status of a developing country and will be a developed nation by 2041, and we want to do it,” she said.
The premier said this while addressing the ceremony of Begum Rokeya Day-2022 and Begum Rokeya Padak-2022 distribution at city’s Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
She said the dream of Begum Rokeya has almost been implemented in Bangladesh as the country’s parliament has Speaker, Leader of the House, Deputy Leader and Opposition Leader who are all women.
“Unfortunately, Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury died some days ago. But, we will fill up the vacuum of this position with a woman,” she added.
Mentioning that all (male and female) are capable, Sheikh Hasina said, “We have to encourage our society, pull up the society. It is my goal and that is we are carrying out.”
She said that if Begum Rokeya would have been alive, she might be happy to see this progress of women in Bangladesh.
She also mentioned that the government has established college, university and training centre naming after Begum Rokeya at her birthplace in Rangpur.
At the ceremony, Begum Rokeya Padak-2022 was distributed to five distinguished women for their extraordinary contribution to various sectors in society. The premier handed over the Padak (medal) to the recipients.
The recipients are Rahima Khatun, Professor Kamrun Nahar Begum Advocate, Farida Yasmin, Dr Afroza Parveen and Nasima Begum.
Each of the recipients was given a gold medal, a cheque for Taka 4 lakh and a certificate.
Rahima Khatun of Faridpur district won the award this year for her special contribution to women's education, while Professor Kamrun Nahar Begum Advocate of Chittagong district received the padak for her special contribution to the establishment of women's rights and Farida Yasmin of Satkhira district was awarded for her special contribution to the field of women's socio-economic development.
Besides, Dr Afroza Parveen of Narail district and Nasima Begum of Jhenaidah district were given this award for their special contributions to making the women aware through literature and culture and in the field of rural development respectively.
With State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira, MP, in the chair, secretary of the ministry Md Hasanuzzaman Kallol delivered welcome address.
On behalf of the recipients, Dr Afroza Parveen also spoke on the occasion.
A documentary on Begum Rokeya’s life and the activities of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs was screened.
The Prime Minister noted that the women couldn’t stand in today’s position if Begum Rokeya did not show shown the path to them.
Referring to the situation that prevailed in the then Pakistan era where women had no right to apply for job in the judiciary as it was barred by law, she said after the independence, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had changed the law and made scopes for women in the judiciary.
Although many women had joined the judiciary through examination, they didn’t get chance to go to the higher court, said the premier, adding that her government in 1996 gave the opportunity to the women to work in the higher court as justice.
Later, the Awami League government opened up the door gradually for women in Army, Navy and Air Force as well as Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), she said.
She added that her government has also promoted women as secretary, deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, officer-in-charge of thana and others in different sectors where the women have become successful and showed their capabilities.
Sheikh Hasina said that women could not show their skillfulness if they were not given the responsibility.
She said, “Half of the society is women in the country. If men and women simultaneously don’t pull the country towards development, the country doesn’t stand with its head high rather it has to crawl to move ahead.”
The Prime Minister said that her government has given equal scopes to men and women in the work place.
Mentioning that the work in the family of a woman is not less important, she said that it’s her own family and that is why she doesn’t take salary in return for the labour she has to give round-the-clock.
She also opined that all should do their own work in the family, and the researchers should count the women’s family work as their job place recognizing it as labour.
About the third gender people, the Prime Minister said they have not committed any crime and they are children of parents. “Why should they leave their parents and go to the streets? It cannot be that they will have no livelihood,” she added.
She continued that many people fight for women's rights only, but none has ever thought about this class (third gender). “We’ve recognized them in the constitution. They will stay with their parents, get education, get a job, get training, they will get a healthy life. We’ve incorporated the third gender along with male and female in each form,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina said that after the Coronavirus pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and sanction and counter sanction have made the life of every person miserable across the globe.
“Not only our country, the developed countries are also in a worse condition. That is why I’ve called upon everyone who has unutilised land to produce whatever they can,” she said.
The head of government urged everyone to exercise austerity in using electricity, water, oil so that the shock of the economic recession that has hit the world cannot come to Bangladesh. “We also have to take that measure ourselves, which we’ve already taken,” she added.