Bangladesh: Gender mainstreaming in parliament stressed

AGORA moderator's picture

The efforts for gender mainstreaming in parliament got a boost as Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, laid emphasis on adopting a two-prong approach to enhance it in all activities and tiers of parliament.

She said this while speaking as the chief guest at the "Launching of Policy Brief on Gender Mainstreaming in Bangladesh Parliament" in the city recently, said a press release.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the Improving Democracy through Parliamentary Development (IPD) Project of UNDP jointly organised the launching ceremony.

State Minister for Children and Women Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki, MP, presided over the programme.

Additional Secretary of Parliament Secretariat and National Project Director of IPD Project Pranab Chakraborty made the introductory remarks. Assistant Country Director of UNDP Won Young Hong spoke on the occasion as the guest of honour, and Programme Specialist of UNDP Rae-Ann Peart read out a written statement of the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Abdelwahad Radi.

Members of parliament, representatives from the ministries, civil society, development partners and media were present on the occasion.

The Speaker said different standing committees while scrutinising the policies can take care of gender mainstreaming to ensure gender equality in the process of legislation and other activities of Parliament Secretariat. She mentioned women MPs are also on the parliamentary committees.

Also the committees can scrutinise the level of implementation of the gender budget, she noted.

Apart from such steps, an inter-parliamentary standing committee working group can be formed to implement the recommendations put forward by the standing committees on the ministry of women and children affairs in the policy brief. Women participation in decision making of the political parties can be raised, and women leadership can also be increased at the local grassroots level, observed the Speaker.

The committee got the study on Gender Mainstreaming in Bangladesh Parliament done in 2012 with the support from IPD Project of UNDP, and in cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The policy brief is the outcome of the study that has set out specific recommendations under the broad headings of elected and nominated women MPs, political parties, parliamentary committees, capacity building for men and women MPs, gender equality mechanisms, and civil society.

Lead researcher of the study and Inter-Parliamentary Union gender expert, Sherrill Whittington, made a presentation on the policy brief followed by an open discussion.

The suggestions in the open discussion include increasing participation of women in the political process from the grassroots level, increasing the quota for reserved seats for women in Parliament, reducing election expenditures for women, and formulating a strategy paper and its implementation plan on how gender equality can be enhanced in parliament.

SOURCE: The Financial Express, June 11th, 2013: http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDZfMTFfMTNfMV8xOTBfMTcyNTU0