BANGLADESH: PM Calls for Empowering South Asian Women

Sunday, October 3, 2010
Bangladesh News 24 Hours
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has urged South Asian leaders to prevent violence against women and remove obstacles on the path to women empowerment.

"South Asian countries have almost identical problems regarding women's rights issues due to socio-economic and political reality of this area," she said after inaugurating the seventh South Asian ministerial conference on women's rights at the Sheraton Hotel on Sunday.

Hasina pointed out that trafficking of women and children is a major problem and emphasised on combined efforts for its stop.

The prime minister mentioned her government's measures in this regard, saying, "The government is very sincere about women empowerment and their rights."

"The process of modernising the women development policy is underway," she added.

"Existing law to stop violence against women were amended and new laws passed in this regard."

Hasina mentioned the development policy of the government includes removal of gender inequality in every phase of life and ensuring development through empowerment of women.

"The government is working on poverty reduction and the development of education, health and manpower by empowering women," she said.

She also mentioned the government programmes launched to ensure free education for women, including stipends and financial aids to buy books, have increased the rate of education for women at primary and secondary levels.

Regarding child and maternal mortality rate, Hasina said, "Bangladesh has got the MDG-4 award for its success in this area."

"The government has allotted Tk 3.31 billion in the current fiscal to compensate nearly a million widows and divorcees."

Hasina said that the presence of 19 women members in the parliament, including herself, the opposition chief, deputy leader of the parliament and five ministers, speaks a lot about women empowerment in Bangladesh.

She also pointed out that 30 percent of seats in local government organisations are reserved for women.

State minister for women and children affairs Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was also present.