Sunday, 5 February, 2023

Women empowerment benefits all

Women’s economic empowerment is needed not only for the progress of women themselves, it has a direct bearing on socio-economic progress of the whole nation. Bangladesh set an example in this regard. Bangladesh is the most gender equal country in South Asia; and the World Bank points out, the country’s prosperity hinges on its gender equality.

Women’s economic and labour-force participation has a direct contribution to the economy. Besides, their financial autonomy enables them to meet the living expenses of themselves as well as that of their families, thus it has a direct bearing on poverty reduction in the country. Besides, it also brings about many other positive changes in society like drop in early marriage and early motherhood, increase in female literacy rates, population control, environmental and personal hygiene awareness etc. Moreover, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, women can elevate their position in society when they are financially solvent and self-reliant.

According to an estimate, currently women constitute around 34 percent of the country’s labour force. If Bangladesh can raise the participation of women in labour force by 10 percent, it would drive the GDP growth by one percent. Therefore, it is a proven fact that integration of women in the mainstream of economic activities is a must to take the country forward.

In Bangladesh women are advancing rapidly thanks to wider scope for education and training, equal opportunity in job sector and women-friendly policies. Today, the womenfolk is a force to be reckoned with in all spheres of the state. They are working in secretariats, factories, banking, journalism, army and police etc. Besides, Bangladesh is the topmost contributor of female peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping missions. So, it hardly needs mentioning that women are advancing by leaps and bounds, and their advancement is synonymous with the advancement of the country.

But still, a section of men could not come out of their regressive mindset towards women which is responsible for violence against women, gender pay-gap, and workplace harassment and so on. A safe workplace, equal treatment and equal pay are some of the prerequisite for getting more women in the labour force.