January 21, 2021, 1:28 pm

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Govt works to ensure women’s equal participation everywhere: PM

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government is working to ensure equal participation of women in every sphere of society so they could make their presence bold to expedite country’s development.

“A society can’t move ahead without the development of women when they are the half of total population . . . If women can’t prepare themselves equally, how this society will be built?” she said at a programme of Begum Rokeya Day and Begum Rokeya Padak-2020 distribution.

Mentioning that the government wanted to build Bangladesh as a developed country, Sheikh Hasina said it would not be possible for a society to stand on its own feet when half of its population stays behind.

“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, immediately after the independence, had taken various measures such as 10 percent quota for women in government jobs and that is why Bangladesh has made huge progress in women empowerment till date,” she said.

The Prime Minister said Awami League after forming government took many initiatives for women to turn them into entrepreneurs as well as give them more opportunities so they can make their present bold in the society.

The government always wanted to develop the country’s socioeconomic condition and that is why it has prioritized women education and their employment, she added.

“We’ve ensured strong presence of women in all types of jobs,” said Sheikh Hasina, adding, “It would be good for society as employment of women means solvency would come into family and consequently free the country from poverty.”

Prime Minister joined the ceremony at Bangladesh Shishu Academy auditorium virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban. Ministry of women and children affairs organized it marking the birth and death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira, MP, chaired the function while Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus moderated it. Women and Children Affairs Secretary Kazi Rowshan Akhter gave welcome speech.

Earlier, Professor Dr Shireen Akhter in education, Brigadier General Dr Nazma Begum in women’s professional development, Manjulika Chakma in women’s socio-economic development, Begum Mushtari Shafi in literature and culture, and Farida Akter in women’s rights categories received Begum Rokeya Padak-2020.

Fazilatun Nessa Indira handed over the padak (award) on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said alongside making education free of cost, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after the independence had secured women rights in the constitution and reserved seats for women in parliament for developing women leadership.

Besides, the Father of the Nation had also changed the law to give opportunity to women for competing in government jobs after independence which was not possible in Pakistan era, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said after forming government in 1996 she had taken necessary measures to appoint woman justice in the higher court and promoted women as secretary of the government for first time to ensure women empowerment.

She said her government has introduced legal aid services so women can receive legal aid free of cost and get justice. In addition, the government is also providing widow allowance, old allowance and allowance for women abandoned by their husbands to keep them financially solvent, she added.

The Prime Minister said the government is constructing hostels across the country, even at the district and upazila levels, for working women so they could get good accommodation. “With this, women will be able to continue their jobs staying in secured places.”

Pointing out women and children repression is not a problem only for Bangladesh rather it’s a worldwide issue, she said the government has already taken various measures such as setting up help centre 109 and national call centre 999 to stop these social menaces.

“Process is also going on to set up DNA laboratory which would help identify and apprehend the criminals of any incident,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said women have stepped into a dignified position in the country now and they are working in higher capacities in the administration, judiciary, armed forces and other sectors.

“Parliament Speaker, leader of the House, leader of the opposition and deputy leader in parliament are all women in Bangladesh, which is a unique example in the world,” she said, mentioning that it is praised abroad regularly.

Referring to the dreams of Begum Rokeya, she said the great women wanted to see women stand on their own feet by attaining proper education.

The Prime Minister said her daughter Saima Hossain is also born on the birthday of Begum Rokeya and she sought doa from all for Saima.

She said Saima Hossain has been working on differently able and autistic persons who were neglected in society but now awareness has been created about it and a resolution was passed in the United Nations at her initiative.

The premier said the government is working to provide treatment and other facilities to differently able and autistic persons.

Against the backdrop of ongoing Covid-19 situation, she also reiterated her call to the country’s people to maintain the proper health guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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