The patriarchal and dated cultures in South Asia affect the social, economic, and political life of women and force them to be excluded from almost all developmental activities. Ignoring strict restrictions or discipline, a number of women came out with their own torches in their hands. Those who are deprived of their own happiness and conveniences in their personal life and take a vow to stand by the side of the suffering people, donating their talents to the welfare of humanity with kind hands raising their voices for the exploited, and standing on the streets. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to give equal status to most of the unfortunate and disenfranchised women in Bangladesh through appropriate leadership and guidance to participate in the state and socio-economic welfare. Because she knows that the real development of the country is not possible if half of the total population is left underprivileged and illiterate.
You can also read: Sheikh Hasina’s Vision for Empowering Women
In 1972, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave clear instructions to ensure their overall development and empowerment for the purpose of women’s development. Article 28(2) of the constitution drafted under Bangabandhu’s direct supervision states that “men and women shall have equal rights in all spheres of state and public life.” As part of the constitutional obligation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman initiated the process of elevating the status of women in Bangladesh. In 1972, Bangabandhu reserved a 10 percent quota for the development of women in government jobs. In 1972, the Bangabandhu government formed the Women’s Rehabilitation Board for the family and social rehabilitation of women victims during the independence war. Wife of the Father of the Nation, Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, a noblewoman forever remembered in the history of independent Bengal, relentlessly inspired Bangabandhu with immeasurable patriotism, self-sacrifice, and courage. The seeds of family education of women’s empowerment and respect that Bangabandhu and Bangamata have sown are constantly evident in the actions of Sheikh Hasina.
Bangabandhu’s daughter Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is implementing comprehensive activities to prevent all types of violence including economic, social, administrative, and political empowerment, expansion of women’s education, and establishment of women’s rights to establish the status of women in the society. The emergence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the political arena of Bangladesh is an important event as she has played an unquestionable role in the development of the large population. Her tireless effort for development has largely been successful with her diligent pursuit of empowerment of women.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, Bangladesh has ranked highest among South Asian countries in terms of gender equality for three consecutive years, a product of the visionary leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister. For the development of women, the government should formulate policy guidelines related to women’s development, create social safety nets; provide lifelong training; microcredit access and a women-friendly banking system, credit facilities for women entrepreneurs, creation of women entrepreneurship through the creation of micro, small and medium industries; Implementing schemes for equal pay between men and women at work and protection and advancement of girls.
Besides, Sheikh Hasina’s government has already implemented various projects/steps to provide support, encouragement, and incentives to Bangladeshi women, including Ashrayan, ‘Ek Bari, Ek Khamar’ (One House, One Firm), and Jayita. Arrangements have been made to give SME loans of up to Tk 25 lakh without any collateral to make women self-reliant. ‘Joy Mobile Apps’ has been launched to get police assistance and other services to prevent child marriage, sexual abuse, and violence. Women’s safety and a safe working environment for women outside the home have been created. The proof of this is that 11 percent of Bangladesh’s six and a-half lakh freelancers are women (that is 71,500 people) and their participation in online income is constantly increasing. According to the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RAMRU), women workers remitted 69 percent of the total foreign exchange during the Corona period, while male workers sent 30 percent.
In 2009, in view of the promise of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, maternity leave for women working in government jobs was made to 6 months for breastfeeding and overall care of the child. He emphasized the importance of establishing child day care centers in various government and private institutions and currently child day care centers have been established in various institutions including the Bangladesh Secretariat. Most of the displaced Rohingya in 2017 were women and children. And for the health care of these women and children and the reduction of mortality, she has emerged as the mother of humanity.
Internationally, Sheikh Hasina has been honored with various awards for her unique contribution to women’s empowerment. She has received the Lifetime Contribution for Women Empowerment Award from the Institute of South Asian Women for protecting women’s rights and preventing violence, the Global Women’s Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership in women’s education and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, for her pioneering role in reducing gender inequality in the political arena in South and Southeast Asia. She was awarded the UNESCO ‘WIP Global Forum Award’, the ‘Tree of Peace’ for promoting women’s education, the UN Women Agent of Change award, and the Planet 50-50 Champion’ award for outstanding contributions to the fight against women.
Prime Minister takes the accumulated sufferings of women as her own and thus becomes closer to their hearts. As the daughter of Bangabandhu, she has seen the political and economic suffering at home all her life. The tragic hardship she encountered throughout her life has given her that connection with disadvantaged and discriminated people. The dream of a hunger-free, poverty-free Sonar Bengal in the ever-vigilant Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s mind will soon be possible. Her contribution as the eternal mother of Bengalis will be counted as a milestone forever.