Essay : Empowerment of Women in Bangladesh

Empowerment of Women in Bangladesh

Introduction :
Man for the field 
Women for the hearth. 
Man for the sword 
For the needle she. 
All else confusion. 

In the past societies dominated by muscle power and money, men also determined the conditions of governing the relationship between men and women, society and state. Men also fought the wars and ran the enterprises of industrial production. Women were subdued and ruled under frowning look in social and economic activities. With the advancement of civilization, man feels the need of women education. Educated women strove for economic rights and attempted for employment. Women’s struggle for equal rights had its primitive origin. Till today women are at war for realizing their basic rights. 

Gender Equality

Empowerment of women is an important aspect of the concept of both global and national development. Women’s contributions are indispensable for socio-economic development. So their participation is to be ensured in development work. In fact, empowerment of women includes the feminine rights and state recognition of women by making them self-reliant and decision maker in all inclusive aspects. So women development is a matter of great importance. Women development and empowerment of women are the two inseparable factors that are to be guaranteed in all levels of state administration. 

World background : Time is a ceaseless traveller and with the on-going movement of time women folk can be turned into an asset by ensuring their active involvement. Need for women development and their involvement in the production-oriented projects are recognized in all the countries. So the matter is not a national issue only. Rather the global concept is to be considered. The UN is actively working for women development as well as empowerment. World Women’s Day was declared in 1975 and a women decade was observed between 1975-1985. The objective of women decade is women development, establishment of rights in the family, society and work fields. First World Women Conference was held in Mexico in 1975. 

Bangladesh background : Need of women development and empowerment in Bangladesh has long been felt. To face gender discrimination, indifference to women’s fundamental rights and constitutional equity with males Bangladesh government formed Women Rehabilitation Board. In 1978 Women Affairs Ministry was formed to monitor the government steps relating to empowerment of women. 

Status and empowerment of women in administration and politics : At present about 10,000 women are employed in administration and management jobs. A few women are in secretarial posts now. In Bangladesh 25 million women are labour force, 79% are in agro-based sector, 9.9% in manufacturing and transportation sector, 2.2% in marketing sector and 0.6 in clerical posts. In Banking 01 general manager, in police department 05 women supers and 01 Brigadier women in AMC. Out of total 85,000 women 1% in ministries, 16% in autonomous bodies and 82.5% in official jobs are employed. Very small number of women are in politics and parliament. 

Process of women empowerment and practical scenario : The first and foremost factor for women development is education. Education is necessary for awakening consciousness in women. Women are under the jaws of household maintenance, child rearing, childbirth but they hardly get recognition of their rights. Women participate in the manual labour in the garment industries like their male counterparts and, moreover, they work for 21 hours a day which is more than the males. Due to family code and religious ‘fatowas’ women’s rights and entity are defied. 

Rule of NGO in women empowerment : There is a progressive action programme for empowerment of women in NGO sector. ADAB a top-level NGO organization has five women in the executive committee. Many voluntary organizations are working for driving consciousness, generating income sources and investment orienting schemes so that women strive for self-employment. 

Obstacles to women empowerment : There are a log of hindrances against women empowerment and women development. Women are compelled to work at a low wage in agriculture or other non-recognized sectors. Thinking and planning for women empowerment is not less both in government and non-government levels and materialization of thinking and planning is still in question. 

Steps for empowerment of women : Preconditions for empowerment of women are (i) to change their status and financial condition; (ii) to make them participate in decision making and controlling affairs. 

According to constitution of Bangladesh : Any disparity to women is strictly prohibited due to religions, creed, place and birth. For women development and empowerment, our government has founded Women Rehabilitation Board, Rehabilitation and Welfare Foundation, National Women Organization, Women affairs Directorate and Independent Women and Children Affairs Ministry. Women Directorate has its branches in 64 districts and 136 thanas. National Women Organization has mobilized its activities in 236 thanas. Government has declared female education free up to 12 class. Food grain and compensation for female student is given every month. 

Role of women representative in local bodies and state politics is ensured to accelerate the process of empowerment of women in Bangladesh. Reservation of 15% seats for women in the parliament has been made. This provision in the constitution will enhance role of women in rural affairs. 

Conclusion : There is no alternative to making women economically, socially and politically self-reliant and empowered. Empowerment of women is a matter where women will compete with men in equal rights to build up a reformed world of safety and prosperity. Discrimination between male and female will be resolved and coming generation will come across a new greener world.

Same composition collected from another book

Introduction : Disempowerment of women is a stain on human civilization. Due to low status of women, approximately half of Bangladeshi population is left behind in darkness. Women’s access to positions of influence and power is limited; their occupation choices are narrower, and their earnings lower than those of men and they must struggle to reconcile activities outside the home with their traditional role. The experience is mainly rooted in the failure to value women for anything but their reproductive role. Illiteracy, low life expectancy, low rate of unemployment, high fertility, mortality and morbidity, form a vicious circle adversely affecting women in Bangladesh. 

Present state of empowerment of women in Bangladesh : The position of women in Bangladesh is much lower than that of man. However, women represent a half of the country’s human resources and thus a half of its potential. Their literacy is only 53.7 percent which is 56.9 percent for men and 50.2 percent for women, life expectance is 66.1 years for men and 68.7 years for women. Excessive mortality among women due to discrimination has resulted in a ratio whereby there are 100.3 men for every 100 women. Nutritional status of women and girls in marked by sharp differences with that of men and boys. Health care for women is often restricted to their reproductive health. Violence against women is alarmingly on the increase. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in a special report in 2009 revealed that death due to unnatural causes in almost three times higher for women than pregnancy related causes. 

Despite the constitutional mandate, women’s visibility in the public service has been negligible. Their participation in institutional development and decision making is also minimal. Wage differentials between men and women are very high in case of wage employment. 

Besides, the constitution of Bangladesh provides for formal political equality of men and women. There is no legal barrier to women contesting or voting for any elective office; including that of the head of state. The fifteenth amendment of the constitution reserved 50 seats for women. 

Actions needed for empowerment : The process of empowerment should be followed by conscious efforts of society which require following steps : 
  1. The obstacles that deprive women of the benefits of economic development should be removed. Measures should be taken for building women’s capacity to be effective partners with their husbands in household decision making and resource allocation. 
  2. Protection for young girls and unmarried women is a must. The parents and community leaders must have the commitment to improve the reproductive health and counseling services. 
  3. The attitudes and practices of men regarding women should be changed. 
  4. Measure should be taken to wipe out barriers (legal and regulatory) for full participation of women in the labour force to enable rural women to gain title to land they farm, and give women accessibility to credit and other monetary assistance for income generation and consumption activities. 
  5. It is needed to go beyond gender-neutral investments in health and education. 
Conclusion : Twenty first century is ushering in an era of new hopes and aspirations for the women-folk. The women of Bangladesh can now look forward with pride and hope for having some outstanding and significant moments that have taken place in the last two decades for their all out development. We require both our hands to pray to our creator. So, the active cooperation (সহযোগিত) between men and women is a must for real development of a country. In this regard, collective efforts by government, NGOs and international organizations can only accelerate the pace of women development and their empowerment in Bangladesh.

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