‘Let all obstacles be removed in the way of women’s empowerment in Bangladesh’

Empowerment of women will be ensured only when women are independent and dignified at every stage of life. Empowering women is not possible in a day. Real development of women will not be possible if the ideas developed in the society are not completely resisted. The position of women in the society of Bangladesh has not yet been established. Women are not valued anywhere. It’s not possible to get rid of this problem if the negative mentality is not removed.

“All the great creations in the world are eternally good, half made by women and half made by men”

Women are still neglected in the family. Discrimination against a girl child starts after she is born. If there is such discrimination against women in the family, it’s difficult to bring real respect for women outside the home. As a result, respect for women should be created from the family. Equal importance should be given to the mental development of boys and girls in the family. One should refrain from misbehaving with the girl child considering her as a deposit of the next house. Family is the first step to ensure women’s empowerment. Therefore, equality, freedom, freedom of expression should be developed within the family first.

Women have right to independent life, every person is individual. Our family, society does not allow women to live freely, even if they don’t impose barriers on men to live independently. Even women are not taught that they can live independently. She had to walk on someone’s shoulders since childhood. Today’s women are becoming aware of their rights. As a result, the more advanced women are in expressing their opinions, the more freely and safely they can live their lives, the smoother the empowerment of women will be. So we stop wearing shackles on women’s feet to awaken women’s power.

Respect for women should be developed in the family and society. Remember, women are not a commodity. Even today it is heard from all corners of the society that you are a woman, so this work can never be done by you. This misconception needs to be changed. Women should be made aware of why they can’t. If a man can do anything, why not a woman?

Education is the biggest obstacle in the path of women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. Women lag behind men in education. Especially in rural areas. Child marriage has not been completely stopped yet. Child marriage must be stopped if women are to be empowered. 100% female education should be ensured. Napoleon said, “Give me a good mother, I will give you a good nation!” Therefore, women’s education must be ensured to free the future of the nation. Empowerment of women will increase if education is ensured.

In addition to women’s education, women-friendly working environment should be developed to strengthen women’s empowerment. The unemployed are a burden to society. As a result, in addition to women’s education, attention should be paid so that they do not face any problem in entering the world of work.

Religion and politics against women

Another major obstacle in the path of women’s empowerment is economic poverty. Even today, women are not given much importance in the family and society if women are not financially prosperous. No matter how much work a woman does at home, our society does not accept it within the context. As a result, women should be made economically independent so that their work can be appreciated and their respect can increase. There is no substitute for education to become economically prosperous.

Another big obstacle in the path of women’s empowerment is religious bigotry. Many fundamentalist groups believe that it is a grave sin for a woman to go outside the house. As a result, women are confined in the house and empowerment is not possible.

Some of the other obstacles in the way of women’s empowerment are: imbalanced power structure, continuation of social traditions, gender segregation, mentality of slavery to men, lack of democracy and stable political environment, non-attachment of civil society.

To ensure women’s empowerment, protection and rights must be ensured through legislation. In 1975, the women’s conference in Mexico was the main comment on the policy of protecting women’s rights, which was the empowerment of women. Currently, women are becoming more aware, but they are not able to play any effective role in the country’s economy due to lack of proper working environment and security. As a result, to ensure the empowerment of women, a safe environment must be created for women.

Although some steps have been taken to empower women, they are still tortured, kidnapped and trafficked, raped, murdered for dowry, molested, attacked with acid. And these crimes have become common everyday occurrences.

More than 50 women disappears each month in Bangladesh

© Mika Baumeister
© Mika Baumeister

According to human rights organization ‘Ain O Salish Kendra’ [Law and Justice Center in English] (ASK), A total of 573 women were victims of single and gang rape in 2023. 33 women were killed after rape and five people committed suicide after rape. Besides, 129 women were victims of rape attempts in 2023. Three of them were killed after attempted rape and three committed suicide due to attempted rape.

At least 142 women have been victims of sexual harassment. Among them 12 women committed suicide. 122 men were tortured and harassed while protesting these incidents. And 4 women and 4 men were killed while protesting.

In the domestic violence and dowry section of the report, a total of 507 women were victims of domestic violence this year. Out of which 292 women died and 142 women committed suicide.

This calculation is found in another statistic of ‘ASK’. The organization says that from 2017 to July 2022, a total of 3,376 women were killed or forced to commit suicide. By year, 597 women in 2017, 528 in 2018, 587 in 2019, 661 in 2020, 684 in 2021 and 319 women in the first seven months of 2022 have experienced this extreme event. That means more than 50 women are missing on an average per month. Where there are more murders than suicides.

According to other statistics of ‘ASK’, 251 women were victims of domestic abuse in the year 2022 (July-December) across the country. Out of which 152 women died due to torture and 55 women committed suicide. 5 women were victims of acid throwing.

A beautiful and healthy nation is formed by the combined efforts of men and women. The patriarchal mentality must be avoided. It should be recognized from the heart that women are an important part of the society. Men are not co-competitors of women. As a result, to ensure women’s empowerment, both men and women must be respected.

If we can create a society without discrimination, women will have more opportunities to engage in the welfare of the country. Women’s education, freedom of expression, work should be respected. Women’s work should be given due recognition. Women should not be looked down upon.

All adverse political, social, family, economic and legal environments should be made favorable. Women should be aware of the need to remove all obstacles in the way of women empowerment. They should get their rights.

Jamil Ahmed

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