5 September 2021 (Sunday) at 3:30 pm, on the occasion of International CEDAW Day, an online discussion meeting called “Women in Economy and Implementation of CEDAW: Perspectives on National Women’s Development Policy” was held by the initiative of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad. Dr. Fauzia Moslem, President of the Central Committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, presided over the meeting. Maleka Banu, General Secretary of the Central Committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad delivered the welcome speech.
Dr. Binayak Sen, Prominent Economist and Director General of Bangladesh Development Research Institute(BIDS); Ferdousi Sultana, Gender and Social Development Expert; Shohel Rana, Program Analyst (Gender and Governance) UN Women Bangladesh; and Rita Nahar, Journalist of Boishakhi Television were present as the guest speakers.
Speakers at the meeting discussed that long years have been passed after the women’s rights bill-CEDAW was signed by Bangladesh Government. But the status of the implementation of CEDAW is not satisfactory. Still, Government is continuing its reservation on articles 2 and 16.1 (c) which are fully consistent with the Constitution of Bangladesh and have become an impediment to women’s development and gender equality. Without the accountability of the state mechanisms, full implementation of CEDAW will never be possible. On the other hand, initiatives of the media regarding the implementation of CEDAW are not so visible. The speakers claimed that the government must take effective measures to implement National Women Development Policy within the framework of accountability. Including the 8th Five-Year Plan, there are many good laws for the establishment of gender equality. So, emphasis should be given to the implementation and monitoring. Without ensuring proper monitoring, accountability, budget, and manpower, it is not possible to make sustainable progress for women in the economy, even if there is a woman-friendly policy, they claimed.
Dr. Fawzia Moslem, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, presided over the meeting and delivered her speech. She stated that from the experience of the women’s movement it has been observed that establishing rights will be easier if the movement becomes strong. Women’s participation in the decision-making process has become vital today. She remarked that the CEDAW implementation movement will be strengthened when different professional movements will be incorporated into the women’s movement.
Sathi Chowdhury, General Secretary of Brammanbaria District Branch of the organization presented the key-note paper. She discussed the different sections of CEDAW and the Constitution of Bangladesh from the perspective of women in the economy. Although women have visible contribution in the economy of Bangladesh, still they are facing various obstacles in the way of economic rights and empowerment.
She, in her paper, mentioned that the Corona epidemic poses a new challenge for women. Many women workers have lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. Need urgent state incentives and integrated initiatives to overcome this corona crisis that alarmingly impacted women and girls of Bangladesh. And for the overall development of women’s economic empowerment, full implementation of the CEDAW and National Women’s Development Policy is a must.
On behalf of BMP, International Sub-Committee member Ferdous Jahan Ratna presented the written proposal at the meeting.
In the online discussion meeting, 35 people including members of the Central Committee of BMP, representatives from Social Action Committee like Acid Survivors Foundation, Awaaz Foundation, Adivasi Nari Network, journalists and officials of the organization participated. Through Facebook live, more than1400 people have viewed this online program.
Rekha Saha, Secretary for International Sub-Committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad facilitated the online meeting.