The country has achieved remarkable success in women's empowerment. This has been possible due to adoption of pro-woman policies and strategies as well as sound budgetary allocation for women's advancement.
The Minister of Finance in his budget speech on Thursday acknowledged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s role in achieving women's empowerment and gender parity across the country. Terming Bangladesh as a role model in women's empowerment and development, the minister said the government is committed to empowering women in political, economic and social spheres.
He proposed an allocation of Tk 4,191 crore for the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which was Tk 3,860 crore in FY 2020-2021. The role of women entrepreneurs in the country's economic development is undeniable. So, the minister proposed to keep up to Tk7000,000 of annual business turnover of women entrepreneurs outside the purview of taxation. He gave the proposal as a special incentive to the development of women entrepreneurs working in the SME sector. Besides, vat exemption for locally made sanitary napkins will make it affordable for women.
We believe the woman-friendly budget will provide women with equal access to entrepreneurship opportunities for accelerating the country's economic growth.
Presently, the Prime Minister, Speaker and Leader of the Opposition are women. Besides holding important positions, women are serving in police, armed forces and UN peacekeeping missions. They are also serving people as elected representatives in local government.
The RMG sector and micro finance schemes have contributed to women empowerment immensely. Bangladesh has also topped the South Asian countries in gender equality. It has made progress across all dimensions of economic opportunity and participation. The international community has recognised the incumbent government's contributions towards the cause of advancement of women.
In recognition to her outstanding contributions to women empowerment, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was awarded “Planet 50-50 Champion” by UN-Women and “Agent of Change Award” by Global Partnership Forum in 2016. In 2018, she received “Global Women’s Leadership Award” from Global Summit of Women in Sydney, Australia.
In a word, this year’s budget policy, if properly implemented, will further accelerate the forward march of women in Bangladesh.