Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government was working to ensure equal participation of women in every sphere of the society so that they could contribute to expediting the country’s development with courage.
“A society cannot move forward without the development of women when they are the half of the total population…. How this society will be built if the women can’t prepare themselves equally?” she asked.
The PM was addressing a programme marking the Begum Rokeya Day and distribution of Begum Rokeya Padak 2020.
Mentioning that the government wanted to build Bangladesh as a developed country, Hasina said it would be not possible for a society to stand on its own feet leaving half of its population behind.
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, immediately after the country’s independence, had taken various measures such as reserving 10 percent quota of government jobs for women and that is why Bangladesh has made a huge progress in women empowerment today.”
She said Awami League after forming the government took many initiatives to turn women into entrepreneurs as well as give them more opportunities so they can hold a position in the society with courage.
The government always wanted to develop the country’s socioeconomic condition and that is why it has prioritised women education and their employment, she added.
The PM said the government has ensured strong presence of women in all types of jobs. “It would be good for the society as employment of women brings solvency to families and subsequently frees the country from poverty.”
Hasina joined the ceremony at Bangladesh Shishu Academy auditorium virtually from the Gono Bhaban. The ministry of women and children affairs organised the event marking the birth and death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira chaired the function, moderated by PM’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus.
The winners of Begum Rokeya Padak 2020 are: Prof Dr Shireen Akhter in education, Brig Gen 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.
Fazilatun Nessa Indira handed the awards to the winners on behalf of the prime minister.
The premier said after forming the government in 1996 she had taken necessary measures to appoint women justices to the higher court and promoted women as secretaries of the government for first time to ensure women empowerment.
Hasina 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 age allowance and allowance for women abandoned by their husbands to keep them financially solvent, she added.
She said women have stepped to 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, adding that it is praised abroad regularly.
Referring to the dreams of Begum Rokeya, she said the great woman wanted to see women stand on their own feet by attaining proper education.
She said her daughter Saima Hossain was also born on the birthday of Begum Rokeya and she sought doa from all for Saima.
The premier said Saima was working with differently abled and autistic people who were neglected in the society. Awareness has been created about it and a resolution was passed in the United Nations at her initiative, the PM added.
Hasina said the government is working to provide treatment and other facilities to the differently abled and autistic people.
Talking about the Covid-19 situation, she reiterated her call to the people to maintain health guidelines to stop the spread of the virus