Bangladesh: Women lawmakers advocate women empowerment

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The speakers demanded that the parties nominate more women for parliamentary and local government elections to ensure their greater participation at all levels.

To eliminate gender discrimination, the political parties should ensure 33% of the positions allotted to women in their party hierarchical structure by 2015, and include this in their election manifesto ahead of the 2014 general elections.

The call came at a meet the press on Saturday organised by Bangladesh Alliance for Women Leadership (BDAWL) at the National Press Club.

The Election Commission has a vital role to play in ensuring women’s participation as well as achieve the target by 2015, they said.

The speakers demanded that the parties nominate more women for parliamentary and local government elections to ensure their greater participation at all levels.

To ensure women’s participation in policy making level of public and private sector, the government should target to allocate 50% positions to women leaders by 2021, the speakers urged.

Awami League Lawmaker Sarah Begum Kabori said: “There was a time when women could not even think that they would work together with men. However, now they have come forward overcoming many social hurdles. Our goal is to see 50% of the positions occupied by women in the parliament by 2021.”

“It will also enable them to voice out opinions over national issues from a gender neutral perspective,” she added.

Nasim Ferdous, Executive Director of BDAWL said media should highlight women members of both parties and also the independent candidates.

She said: “Studies have shown that women voters can make a marked difference by electing more women candidates.

Every electoral zone must have enough booths dedicated to women particularly during the hours when most women come to vote.”

Professor Ishrat Shamim of Dhaka University said: “Change cannot be brought in a day. A Presidential Ordinance could be passed under constitutional provision 28(4) to increase the number of women MPs within shortest possible time.”

Among others, Ambassador Shafiullah, Professor Shahriar Akhter Bulu, Tahmina Rahman, treasurer of BDAWL, Shila Tasnim Haque, founding member of BDAWL were also present at the programme.

SOURCE: Dhaka Tribune, August 25th 2013: http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2013/aug/24/women-lawmakers-advocate-women-empowerment