Women of the country continue to face discrimination and harassment in their workplace, say speakers at a virtual webinar, organised by Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) marking International Women’s Day.
Participants said celebrating the achievements of women on a single day turns meaningless if women’s safety cannot be ensured on a regular basis.“Every organisation should be cognizant of how they treat their female employees,” said Banasree Mitra Neogi, Gender Advisor of Manusher Jonno Foundation.
Rina Akter, a former sex worker who turned into a rights activist and recognised under BBC’s 100 Women 2020, said, “Most street sex workers were left without any work during the beginning of the pandemic. They are not eligible for voter IDs, and thus cannot own a house. Social stigma makes it impossible for them to even apply for regular jobs.”
“Trans women are still seen with suspicion in our society. They are excluded from health, education, and other basic rights. If we are to ensure an inclusive society, we need to make sure that trans people are given the same privileges and access to facilities that the rest of the society enjoys,” said Lamea Tanjin Tanha, founder of TransEnd.
Laila Tasmia, gender and development expert, said, “Instead of asking how the society can provide a safe space for girls and women, we force them to limit their potential. Even today, girls are perceived as possessions to be confined within four walls.”
Esrat Karim Eve, founder of AMAL Foundation, reiterated the sentiment, adding, “The goal should be to create an environment where women feel secure and can reach their full potential without fear of external or internal threats.”
The webinar held on March 6 on ‘Overcoming the COVID-19 crisis: Stories of female leadership’ was supported by Manusher Jonno Foundation and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).