Discussion meeting with Honorable Mayor along with Elected Representatives of Dhaka North City Corporation regarding “Strong, effective City Corporation and safe, Women-friendly Dhaka Metropolitan”

By on May 26, 2016
BMP Movement 9

A discussion meeting on “Strong, effective City Corporation and safe, Women-friendly Dhaka Metropolitan” was held on May 15, 2016 at the CIRDAP auditorium. The Honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation Mr. Anisul Haque was present as Chief Guest at the meeting. Mr. Toufique Imrose Khalidi, Editor in Chief of bdnews24.com was present as a special guest. BMP President Ayesha Khanam presided over the discussion meeting. Kazi Sufia Akhtar, Movement Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad’s Central Committee presented the keynote paper. The program was conducted by Jana Goswami, Director (Advocacy and Lobby) of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. A total of 207 participants were present at this discussion meeting, including members of the Central Committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, members of Dhaka Mahanagar, officers of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, male and women counselors of Dhaka North City Corporation, print and electronic media reporters, members of the Social Action Committee and other guests.

 

In her welcome speech Maleka Banu, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad said that, we are all responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure that everyone, regardless of nationality-religion-race-community and differences in opinion, deserve the right to safely and respectfully enjoy equal citizens’ rights in our beloved Dhaka City, which despite being one of the world’s most populated and risky city, is also one which is most important and steeped in tradition, while being filled with footsteps from women-men, children, youth, and seniors. She said that today’s discussion meeting was about how an effective city corporation can contribute to the enforcement of those rights. We want to come out of conventional ideologies of development and see the reflection of gender equality in all work plans. She expressed her hopefulness that the Honorable Mayor would pay close attention to sustainable developmental initiatives which will allow every citizen to be positively impacted by the waves of development.

Ayesha Khanam, President of the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, said that the achievement of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and in general the achievement of the women’s rights movement in Bangladesh is that women have come in to politics starting from the national parliament to the grassroots level. The country cannot change in one day. She mentioned that at this point in the 21st century, in the fight for women empowerment, women have to change themselves. She said that the equality between men and women have to be established, for which institutional cooperation is of utmost importance.

In his speech Mr. Anisul Haque, honorable Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation said that, it is truly commendable how Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has been tirelessly working year after year to establish the human rights of women in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has mentioned 35 duties and responsibilities of the City Corporation. He said that except 5 or 6 of these, the rest of the responsibilities mentioned are unfortunately beyond his jurisdiction. He expressed his hope that there would be playing fields in Dhaka city after 4 years. He said that due to the presence of syndicates, it is presently not possible to solve the bus problems in Dhaka. However, he also said that within two years, there would be new3000 buses including 1000 air conditioned buses under the franchise system, which will solve many of the transportation problems of the general public. Powerful CCTV cameras and LED lights would be installed in Dhaka North City Corporation. This will greatly strengthen security. The walls in Dhaka city will be demolished. A large plantation is also being organized. The City Corporation is working on a lot of projects including school buses, community health care, and water extraction amongst many others. However, it is very important to give more responsibilities to elected representatives. He said that the Mayor and his team will always be ready for complete cooperation if such discussion meetings are arranged. He expressed his commitment to build a beautiful Bangladesh.

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Mr. Toufique Imrose Khalidi, Editor in Chief of bdnews24.com and special guest at the meeting, said in his speech that many of the achievements of the women of Bangladesh have been made possible for Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. He said that after hearing from the counselors it seemed to him that they have become more empowered. When general people go to elected representatives with various problems, we often hear complaints from them, and it makes it seem like these institutions have not yet become powerful. There are laws in Bangladesh; however, they are not being enforced. Although there are 3 elected women representatives in 3 seats, they have to go to 3 times the number of people to get something done. The question remains if they have 3 times the power. Our country does not have a female-friendly environment. There are only 17 buses for women in Bangladesh, which is completely inadequate for women. Furthermore, if only one playing field can be established in every ward of the country, then majority of the youth of this country will not be pushed towards crime and danger. He commented that certain issues such as education, public-transportation, and police should be handed over to the local government.

The open discussion was participated by counselors of Dhaka North City Corporation Shahnaz Parvin Mitu, Azad Suraiya Daisy, Mr. Habibur Rahman Mijan, Shamima Rahman, Masuda Akter, Nazmun Nahar Helen, Rasheda Akter Jhorna, Mr. Forkan, and Mr. Dewan Abdal Mannan.

Shahnaz Parvin Mitu said, we have arrived here today after a lot of compromises and sacrifices for the empowerment of women. We have come to this position through fair election. We have been elected as counselors from three wards. Therefore, we don’t want to accept the gazette where so many of our duties and responsibilities have been eliminated. Instead, we want equal power of men and women. We are receiving the benefits of the allotment law in most cases. However, a huge barrier to working in this situation is the patriarchal viewpoint. Nevertheless, she mentioned that Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has played a significant role in the fight for women empowerment to enable women in this country to come to this position.

Counselor Habibur Rahman said that there are no barriers to providing equal rights to women. They also said that, despite getting paid equal honorarium we are not getting equal importance in terms of work. We have to work more to get anything done, but the appreciation for that extra work is minimal. We want to work. However, they mentioned that many benefits and rights have been granted to Dhaka North women counselors during the tenure of the present Mayor.

 

Moni Das from Dolito Nari Forum said, we have to solve the shelter problems of the cleaners who are staff members of the City Corporation. Presently 10-12 people cram themselves and live in one room which is extremely inhumane.

 

Some recommendations of the Central Committee were presented by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad.

 

An effective & participatory discussion was held and indicated the following important recommendations:

 

  • More hostels need to be built for working women and day care centres need to be established for small children.
  • Necessary steps need to be taken in order to ensure that ambulances can freely transport patients without obstruction.
  • Capacity building of women and youth need to be initiated and continued.
  • Necessary steps need to be taken for extermination of mosquitoes.
  • Education, public transportation, and law enforcement should be handed over to the local government.
  • This country will not become women friendly and women empowerment will not be possible without the strong and effective local government. Therefore, it is crucial to strengthen the local government.
  • Women and men need to change their mindset.
  • Schools need to be established for the healthy practice of cultural activities.
  • The number of play grounds in Dhaka city needs to be increased.

 

 

 

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