Dhaka, Mar 08: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the country’s womenfolk have been showing their efficiency in every sector capitalising the opportunities of her government extended to them.“We have been creating scopes for the women in every sector as they can move ahead. Utilizing these opportunities, the women are demonstrating their efficiency wherever they go,” she said, BSS reports.
The prime minister was addressing the inaugural function of the International Women’s Day at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium here.
She said: “The women of the country have now proved that they can.”
Mentioning that economic emancipation is of essence for women, she called upon the country’s womenfolk to move ahead with self-confidence and dignity to consolidate their position in the society.
In this context, the premier said, “A woman can consolidate her position in the society as well as in the family and none will dare to neglect her if she earns money through work.”
She, however, reminded the women that, “You will have to achieve the power utilising your own capacity as none will do so for you.”
Turning to coronavirus, the prime minister said currently many countries have been suffering from economic losses due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Noting that coronavirus has appeared as a global concern, she said “We are monitoring the matter round the clock and taking appropriate measures to address any kind of problem in this regard.”
Calling upon all to create awareness about the coronavirus, she said “We have enough capability to face the problem. So, there is no need to get afraid of it.”
The prime minister simultaneously asked all to follow the directives of health ministry regarding COVID-19.
“Don’t get panicked as the government has enough preparation to face the lethal virus,” she added.
Earlier, the premier handed over “Joyeeta Sammanana” to five women for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.
They are: Anwara Begum, Suporna Dey Simpu, late Momtaj Begum, Aronika Meherin Ritu as well as founder and coordinator of CRP Valerie Ann Taylor.
The awardees received a crest, certificate and cheque of Taka 50,000 each.
The prime minister also joined a photo session with the award recipients.
She later witnessed a cultural function.
At the function, a documentary on the government’s development activities for the women was screened.
The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs arranged the function with its State Minister Fazilatun Nessa Indira in the chair.
Country Representative, UN (United Nations) Women, Bangladesh Shoko Ishikawa was present in the function as the special guest, while Women and Children Affairs Secretary Kazi Rowshan Akhter delivered the welcome address.
Elaborating the government’s measures to address all sorts of violence against women particularly rape, Sheikh Hasina said, “The men should step forward and raise their voices alongside creating awareness against rape. The entire society should act against the menace accordingly.”
In this context, she said that the government has enacted necessary laws with a view to protect the women and children from all types of violence, keeping the provision of stringent punishment.
“Women sometimes face different kinds of repression. We are taking punitive measures against the offenders. Despite, women are suffering from violence to some extent,” she added.
Expressing her resentment against the rape, she said rapists are the worst than the beasts.
In this context, the premier recalled with heavy heart the painful memories of thousands of women inhumanly violated by the then Pakistani occupation forces and their collaborators during the War of Liberation in 1971.
“The women who lost their chastity in the war of liberation in 1971 were later awarded the title of Birangana by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to consolidate their position in the society,” she said.
Bangabandhu arranged the marriage of the women victims of the liberation war whose families were unwilling to take them back, she said.
Bangamata was physically present at those marriage ceremonies, she said.
Putting emphasis on creating opportunities for females, the prime minister said her government has been tirelessly working to create scopes for the women which is essential for the overall development of the society.
She said Bangabandhu’s government had first created the scope of appointing women in judiciary.
The Bangabandhu government had also created the scope of appointing women in various law enforcement agencies, saying that seven women were recruited in police force by Bangabandhu.
Following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation, she said that her government has initiated the process of appointing women in the three services and the judiciary.
Referring to the success of womenfolk in various sectors such as politics, art-culture, sports, education and in the UN peacekeeping missions, she said that the women are now achieving success in sports in regional and international arena.
In this context, she said, “A woman has already conquered the Mount Everest”.
The prime minister also said the demand of women officials has increased in the UN peacekeeping mission in comparison to men due to their efficiency.
Referring to the speech of the Opposition Leader at parliament regarding women empowerment, she said that Prime Minister, Speaker, and Deputy Leader of the House are women which is the best example of women empowerment in Bangladesh.
Putting emphasis on women education, the premier said, “The more the women will be educated, the more the society will advance. The society can’t move by making half of the population inactive.”
She said women are now moving ahead men in education.
Pointing out that her government has taken measures to integrate the womenfolk in the mainstream of development, Sheikh Hasina said the country will advance further if males and females work together.
The prime minister said the aim of her government is to create scope for women by protecting their rights.
“Our goal is to ensure their (women) movement in every sphere of the life and we progressed much in this regard … Bangladesh’s girls demonstrated their success in many fields which many developed countries couldn’t,” she said.
Regarding maternity leave, she said, “We’ve introduced four-month maternity leave after assuming office first time and later increased the leave from 4 months to 6 months after coming to the power second time”.
Sheikh Hasina said once there was no daycare centre in Bangladesh Secretariat and it was her government which first set up a daycare centre for the children at the secretariat.
At the outset of the speech, the prime minister paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, saying that he (Bangabandhu) ensured equal opportunity for women in the constitution through articles 27 and 28 (2) and kept a provision of reserved seats for the women to strengthen their positions in the society.
Sheikh Hasina also remembered Begum Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, who worked for the country along with Bangabandhu all the time giving him inspiration, courage and suggestions.
The premier said Bangabandhu rehabilitated mothers and sisters who were tortured by the Pakistani occupation forces and their local cohorts.
In this connection, she recalled with gratitude the name of Begum Rokeya who had played the pioneering role in women’s advancement.
The premier also said the nation is going to celebrate the “Mujib Year” marking the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation from March 17 next with an aim to transforming Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country envisioned by Bangabandhu.