BANGLADESH: Reservation of One Third of Union Parishad Ward for Women Urged

Monday, May 16, 2011
The Financial Express
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

Elected female representatives from the local government on Sunday demanded the reservation of one third of the ward of Union Parishad and Pourashava for women which would be selected from every three wards by rotation every year.

Their demands were presented during a one-day workshop titled 'Women Elected Officials in Local Government: Legal Knowledge for More Effective Representation,' organized by the Strengthening Democratic Local Governance (SDLG), a USAID project at BRAC Centre Inn in the city.

They also demanded forming complete Upazila Parishad comprised of Union Parishad and Pourashava members, as well as giving them the responsibilities of heading various local government committees which are currently headed by Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) or chairmen.

"We want to reserve one third of wards of Union Parishads and Pourashavas to be rotated in every election where we will compete only with female candidates which enables us to work for people, as the elected male members deprive us," said Upazila vice-chairman of Satkhira Shanaz Pervin.

They also demanded the training for all elected male and female representatives to improve their skills, as well as separate budgetary allocation for standing and ward committees of Union Parishad.

The main objective of the workshop was to orient female representatives on relevant constitutional and legal provisions on their role in the local government, and in improving their effectiveness as elected representatives.

"Different committees of Union Parishads are chaired by the UNOs and chairmen but the function of the committees should be entrusted to vice chairman and women councillors as the constitutional provision stipulates," she said on a panel workshop of three elected female representatives.

State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said her ministry will recommend to the local government to look into the problems of elected female representatives.

"I tried to entrust the responsibilities of many of our activities like vulnerable group development programme by our female representatives. In the future I will try to form special committees for various programmes which will be headed by you," she announced.

The state minister stressed the need of reserving seats for female representatives in the context of political empowerment for women and their effective participation in Bangladesh.