Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday called for forging an alliance to support millions of women in need around the world and uphold their rights.
“Together, we must act on our shared culture, tradition and values to benefit millions of women in need. Let’s mobilise our strength. I particularly count on all of you,” she said.
The Prime Minister was delivering her statement at the gala dinner of Global Women’s Leadership Awards in the 2018 Global Summit of Women at the Ballroom of International Conference Centre (ICC) after receiving an award.
She also placed her four-point thought before her audience to develop the existing condition of women around the world.
Those include overcome traditional gender stereotypes regarding women's ability and reaching out to marginal and vulnerable women who are still less fed, not schooled, under-paid and violated, and leaving no woman and girl behind.
Her two other points are enhancing women’s productivity by addressing health hazards specific to women and creating equal opportunities for women in all sectors of life and livelihoods.
The Prime Minister said she is highly delighted and deeply honored to receive the Global Women Leadership Award 2018 and dedicated the award to the women across the world, who have shown their might in changing their lots.
About the contribution of women towards building Bangladesh, Hasina said the Bangalee nation earned independence in 1971 through a 9-month bloody war with Pakistani occupation forces under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“Women played a significant role in every nationalist movement beginning from the Language Movement in 1948 to the War of Liberation in 1971. Two hundred thousand women lost their dignity in the war.”
Soon after Bangladesh’s independence, she said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the Women Rehabilitation Centre to rehabilitate the women war victims. “We have honored them as ‘Birangana’(War Heroines)”.
The Prime Minister said the Constitution of Bangladesh, introduced by the Father of the Nation in 1972, provides: “Women shall have equal rights with men in all spheres of the State and of public life,” which is the bedrock of women empowerment in Bangladesh.
“Bangabandhu made girls education free up to Class VIII and preserved 10 percent quota for females in government jobs,” she said.
Recalling her struggle and experience in realising people’s rights, particularly women’s empowerment in Bangladesh, Hasina said her father along with 18 family members was assassinated in 1975. “My sister and I survived the massacre as we were in Germany.”
Following the atrocities, she said, “We were prevented from returning home and spent 6 years in exile. After returning home in 1981, I focused on working for economic and political emancipation of the people.”
Hasina went on saying, “My party, Bangladesh Awami League, was voted to power in 1996. We were re-elected in 2008 and again in 2014, and we got the opportunity to establish a fair, rights-based, gender sensitive and pragmatic Bangladesh. Bangladesh has now emerged as a role model of “women empowerment”.
She said the World Economic Forum’s report 2017 says Bangladesh is at the 47th position among 144 countries and first in South Asia. It ranks 7th among 155 countries in the political empowerment of women.
Earlier, a description on the Prime Minister, her life and activities towards women empowerment was presented and a short video was screened at the programme.