Bangladesh Mahila Parishad through its two-day National Council Meeting 2021 called for women’s economic, political, and social empowerment and prevention of gender-based violence and demanded the necessary law reformations.
The organisation also demanded women-friendly healthcare services and special attention to women in tackling climate vulnerabilities and disaster management.
With the slogan, “Let’s face the challenge of Covid-19, let’s move forward the women’s movement”, the meeting was virtually held on March 31 and yesterday.
Mahila Parishad president Dr Fauzia Moslem presided over the event. She said women’s position has changed a lot in 50 years of independence, yet they haven’t been able to break out of a conventional image.
“Although women have progressed significantly, we are concerned about the ongoing gender-based violence. The culture of impunity, lack of accountability, communal violence — everything has had a negative impact on women,” she added.
Mentioning the Beijing Platform for Action, which was introduced 26 years ago to establish the rights of women and girls, UN Women country representative of Bangladesh Shoko Ishikawa said every country has been working on establishing the rights of women and girls.
However, although there has been a lot of progress in women’s lives, the Covid-19 pandemic has stalled all the progress, she said.
Violence against women has increased, women’s participation in the labour force has decreased, the discriminatory attitude of the society towards women is still prevalent, she added.
Christine Johansson from the Embassy of Sweden in Bangladesh said due to Covid-19, the rate of child marriage has also increased and it has been putting girls’ physical and mental health at higher risk.
She also urged everyone to work together on preventing child marriage as well as other aspects, such as ensuring justice for all, creating equal opportunities at work, and stopping discriminatory practices.