'Wider male engagement required for gender equality in Bangladesh'

FE REPORT | Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Speakers during a webinar on Monday suggested a wider male engagement with an eye to ensuring gender equality in Bangladesh.

They also recommended stopping child marriage and creating an environment that allows more female participation in decision-making processes.

The observations were made during a dialogue styled 'Male Engagement for Gender Equality: Sustained Impact and Changes in Southwest Bangladesh' hosted by Nobo Jatra Project (NJP) of World Vision Bangladesh.

The findings of an NJP study done in the country's south-west said women and children are most vulnerable due to natural calamities and Covid-19 pandemic.

The study shows child marriage, early pregnancy, and malnutrition are still prevalent in the region.

Speaking as the chief guest, state minister for women and children affairs Fazilatunnesa Indira said the government has made multiple moves to ensure gender parity.

Out of 153 countries, she said, Bangladesh ranked 50th in terms of gender equality and women advancement.

Ms Indira said the government is working to achieve sustainable development goals related to women and child development.

She said the government had amended the Women and Child Repression Prevention (Amended) Act-2020 for eliminating violence against women and children.

She stressed the need for building mass awareness in stopping child marriage and suggested evaluating the financial value of household work done by womenfolk.

Ms Indira called upon men and women to respect each other and work together to ensure prosperity and happiness in families.

She condemned anti-liberation forces and religious fanatics who are opposing the erection of Bangabandhu's sculpture and said they would be dealt with firmly.

Since 2015, NJP has been implementing male engagement for gender equality sessions for husbands and wives involving 9,814 couples in south-west Bangladesh.

UN Women Bangladesh Country Representative Shoko Ishikawa, USAID Bangladesh mission director Derrick S Brown and USAID Bangladesh senior programme development specialist Mahmuda Rahman Khan, among others, participated in the event.

Dhaka University (DU) development studies department chairman Prof Reaz Haque, NJP director (programme, policy, and advocacy) Md Nurul Alam and Taslima Yasmin of DU law faculty also attended.

[email protected]