Sheikh Hasina’s grand success in women empowerment
Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in advancing women under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina; the country is regarded as an example for the empowerment of women in the world.
She has long recognized that the future of her nation depends largely on the empowerment of women. One of her prime objectives is women's overall development by ensuring their equal and active participation in the mainstream socio-economic and political activities. Her government has initiated necessary policy directives, numerous programs and projects for the development of women.
Bangladesh has improved gender parity across all parts of society. The World Economic Forum recently ranked Bangladesh first in gender equality among South-Asian nations for the second consecutive year. Bangladesh has had a steady climb in the 'Gender Gap Index of 2017, rising to No. 47 in the world.
State Minister for Information Advocate Tarana Halim, at a discussion arranged by the Center for Research Information (CRI) and 'Ami e Bangladesh' at city's Krishibid Institute on Wednesday discussed at length what the Government did to ensure the women empowerment.
Tarana said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had ensured women empowerment even at the grassroots.
She drew examples from police, pointing out that there were female deputy inspector general and even female constables in the force.
"The biggest example of women empowerment would be the 2.4 million female RMG workers," she added.
Tarana attributed the success to Sheikh Hasina's holistic approach.
"We want to ensure better work environment for women, increase support for female entrepreneurs and abolish discrimination against women upon reelection," she said.
In the past decade (2009-18) under Sheikh Hasina's leadership, Bangladesh has gained unprecedented success in girl's education. In that period, coverage of stipend program for girls has been extended manifold and this strategy resulted in almost 100 percent enrollment rate and gender parity. Education of girls up to degree level in public schools is also free. Gender parity is achieved in primary and secondary education.
Sheikh Hasina-led government has taken some effective measures to strengthen health service delivery for women. Bangladesh has also markedly improved maternal health. Significant progress has been made in reducing maternal mortality ratio from 319 (per 100,000 live births) in 2005 to 176 in 2015. During her first tenure at the office, she introduced Maternal Health Voucher Scheme. Currently .15 million women are receiving support under this scheme. Her government has extended social safety net to bring disadvantaged women under health coverage. Due to some effective legislative measures, women now get six months of paid maternity leave.
Rural, marginal and vulnerable women now get primary healthcare services at the 16,000 Community clinics. The concept of Community Clinic is the brain child of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The construction of CC establishment started in 1998. At the beginning of her second tenure in 2009, her government initiated a project with the title of 'Revitalization of Community Health Care Initiatives in Bangladesh (RCHCIB)' to further develop the Community Clinics (CCs) and strengthen their operations in delivering primary health care. Moreover, another 13000 maternity centers are established across the country now providing maternal services.
Amongst others who talked on various issues in the programme, autism expert Saima Wazed Hossain brought the mental health to the fore, explaining how this issue addressed the development of the country.
Saima Wazed Hossain said the issue of mental health is never brought up while addressing the development of the country.
"I think the inclusion of mental health and autism issues in AL manifesto is an achievement itself," she said.
She noted that there was no fixed formula for proper treatment of a mentally challenged person.
"Bangladesh will hopefully show the way in near future once the government implements the plan for helping the mentally challenged," she said.
Saima Wazed said the answer to removing drug addiction and other social evils lies within the youth and the government will always cooperate with them.
She emphasised the participation of the youth in the national election, encouraging them to be involved in the whole process. She also warned them not to fall for the words on social media saying, "Information from social media requires investigation instead of blind belief."
Meanwhile the speakers urged the young people to vote the pro-liberation party to power in the December 30 election.
Apart from Tarana Halim and Saima Wazed Hossain, the speakers included former Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology Professor Dr Zafar Iqbal, cricketer Mehidy Hasan Miraz, and former BGMEA chairman Md Atiqul Islam.
The programme was arranged by the Center for Research Information (CRI) and 'I am Bangladesh' at city's Krishibid Institute.