International Women’s Day: Recognising the nation builders
Amid this unprecedented time we will be celebrating International Women's Day with the theme of, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world".
However, this year's observing of the event is different from all previous celebrations, as we will celebrate admirable efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future, recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic while focusing on the gaps that remain. The year 2020 has witnessed that women are warriors - surviving the toughest time of the decade.
Not to mention that women of the world deserve equity in all spheres of life and equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence. That future will guarantee them equal opportunity, rights while ensuring sustainable, peaceful environment for all. But to create such a prejudice-free world, we need women's active participation at every table where decisions are being made.
The year 2020 is a testimony that women's full and effective participation and leadership in all areas of life only resulted in good during this corona pandemic. Different media reports stated that countries with women leadership - tackled the corona crisis tactfully. Thus, it doesn't come as a surprise why Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been named among top three inspirational women leaders, along with Jacinda Arden and Mia Amor Mottley out of 54 commonwealth nations.
However, according to the UN Secretary-General's recent report, women are still under-represented in public life and decision-making. Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 per cent of national parliamentarians are women. As UN Women thinks that at the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 more years, perhaps a bit too long.
Now let's take a glance at home, even during the Corona pandemic women continue to face discrimination in the workplace as the glass ceiling is very much prevalent. Violence against women and pervasive rape culture has pointed to a society that remains very distant to their rights as human beings while terming them 'vulnerable'.
This crisis time has made our female workers fragile since they faced layoffs and became victims of reduced salaries from their services. Many of them hadn't benefit from assured stimulus packages. Some newbie entrepreneurs were also the hardest hit. The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneur has bottom-ranked Bangladesh among 58 economies depicting the bleak scenario of female business owners.
Hence, when we talk about observing this day, we should take a look at the things which need to be addressed appropriately, and fast. We need to take steps to overcome the feeble condition of our women's rights laws coupled with the inequalities practiced in our society. If their contribution to nation building remains unrecognised, and they remain marginalised and vulnerable, we cannot claim as a successful nation.