With the deadline that approached fast to end the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) in 2015, Bangladesh took stock of its progress to-date and worked hard to ensure the next set of goals reflecting the core requirements of sustainability and equity, reports BSS.
Experts say inclusive and equitable growth cannot take place without recognizing the role of women -more or less half of the country’s population. Therefore, it is crucial that the post-MDGs, beyond 2015 are the Sustainable Development Goals or SDG’s, which include the core components of women’s empowerment and gender equality.Bangladesh is an interesting country-case where major milestones have been achieved in women’s empowerment and gender equality, particularly in achieving parity in primary education. By looking at the country specifics, there may arise a critical question as to why be it that Bangladesh has done well on gender-specific targets?
The country with an oversized population has achieved remarkable success in advancing women under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, regarded as a model for women empowerment in the world.
She recognized long ago that the future of her nation depends largely on the empowerment of women. One of her prime aims 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.
According to the Centre for Research and Information (CRI), Bangladesh has improved gender parity and the World Economic Forum recently has ranked Bangladesh the first in gender equality among the South-Asian nations for the second consecutive year. The country has had a steady climb in the ‘Gender Gap Index of 2017, rising to No. 47 in the world. From 2009 to 2018 under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Bangladesh gained unprecedented success in girl’s education.
In this period, coverage of stipend program for girls has been extended manifold and this strategy resulted in almost 100 percent enrollment rate and gender parity. Girls’ education up to degree level in public schools is also free. Gender parity is being achieved in primary and secondary education.
According to the official records, the girls enrollment rate at the primary schools is 99.4 percent, 2.7 million girls are receiving stipend at the secondary and higher secondary level, 51 and 53 percent of students are female in primary and secondary schools, Bangladesh is on the verge of achieving gender parity in tertiary education, females are encouraged to take teaching as profession and currently 60 percent primary school teachers are women.Besides all other key fields, the most important sector is Bangladesh’s garment industry, where women are being encouraged to earn their own bread. The garment sector, the country’s export boom, now accounts for 80% of Bangladesh’s total foreign earnings with 85% of the workers being women, the CRI report said.
It also said that the NARI program facilitates the entry of skilled women into this sector, where girls learn how to adjust to life outside their homes and villages, open and manage bank accounts, and learn about their rights and responsibilities as workers. They also negotiate contracts and rent, understand what sexual harassment is, and learn how and where to report it.
They build networks, allow ideas to form on the basis of newly discovered confidence and self-esteem. Some graduate and join the earmarked jobs, often in positions several steps ahead of what they would have been offered without the training.