On 27 July 2022, a study circle was held with the students of ASA University under the initiative of the Training, Research, and Library Sub-Committee of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP). The topic of the study circle was “Patriarchal attitude is an obstacle to the equality of Men and Women: thoughts and actions of youth”. The study circle was presided over by Md. Iqbal Khan Chaudhury, Treasurer and Vice-Chancellor (In-charge) of ASA University Bangladesh. Professor Dr. Nilufar Begum Nilu, Chairman of the Department of Applied Sociology, ASA University Bangladesh, and the President of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Committee was also present. Rina Ahmed,secretary, training, research and library,BMP gave her speech at the beginning of the study circle.
She said that Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has been organizing the women of Bangladesh and agitating to protect women’s rights and dignity. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) has been doing this movement since the independence of Bangladesh which is over fifty years. In this long fifty years of this work, we are experiencing that women are participating in all aspects on an equal footing with men. From those brick-breaking laborers to the women who conquered the peaks of the Himalayas, and the women who work in the economy and the parliament. But in these fifty years of women’s movement experience, we see they are not getting their share equally.
As women advance, we see social values and some view women as subordinate. A Woman is seen as a woman rather than a person. On one side, women are participating in all sectors, and on the other side, they are victims of violent behavior is a conflict situation, this conflict is not a mutual conflict between men and women, it is a gender issue and a question of human rights. Women are progressing in all fields, today the aim of our women’s movement is how can we maintain and speed up this progress. We are working on that. This is the patriarchal attitude that is one of the obstacles to the equality of men and women, we will discuss the thoughts of the young generation regarding this matter and also discuss those matters which are obstacles to the equality between men and women. We know that today’s generation is the leader of tomorrow’s society. They will serve society.
It is very important for our women’s movement to know which way they will take and lead society, and what are their thoughts. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) hopes and gives importance to the contribution of the young generation in building a society based on the equality of men and women. We feel that we will share our ideas, awareness, and attitudes. Today you will express your feelings with open minds, give your opinion, and everyone will participate in the discussion. For this, we have arranged this study circle.
Students from different departments of ASA University participated in the study circle. The participants participated in the open discussion. The students said that-
• Women cannot take their decisions in lives because of the patriarchal mentality in different countries. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many international conventions we sign, there is a patriarchal mentality among people all over the world.
• If we look at our society, we will see many educated and uneducated families send their male children away but they cannot send their female children away because of safety. We women also harbor a kind of inferiority complex in our minds. So if the enforcement of the existing laws is strengthened, we can get the benefits of the law.
• Bangladesh has progressed in women’s empowerment but could not progress in equality. Prime Minister, Education Minister, and Speaker are woman. But this is empowerment, not equality. Starting from policy making, we have to understand this issue in all areas, we have to keep it in mind.
• The biggest problem is our love of imitation. Other’s daughter is not being sent to study abroad. Everyone has such an idea that why would I send. No one thinks that girls will go to any big position after studying. Everyone thinks that a girl will get married, will have a family, and this is the job of a girl. Boys will study, earn, and go to big positions. There is no equality in this thinking.
• A change will come at the end of the day only when the issue of women’s empowerment and equality will come into the minds of people at all levels.
• Women have more of a patriarchal mindset. The way they think this need to change. Women must be removed from the patriarchal mentality. Then change will come quickly.
In the closing speech, President Md. Iqbal Khan Chaudhury, Treasurer and Vice-Chancellor (In-Charge), of ASA University Bangladesh said, surely changes are coming and more will come. As you have come here, you have listened, so the change will come through you. We want everyone’s support for change. Today’s young society will build a society based on the equality of men and women in the future. He ended the study circle by thanking everyone and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP). The study circle was conducted by Afroja Arman, research officer, BMP.