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Strong political will needed to end gender inequality

  • Published at 02:43 am April 2nd, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:48 am April 2nd, 2017
Strong political will needed to end gender inequality
Women parliamentarians at the 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly forum on saturday said ending gender inequalities can only be achieved by ensuring participation of women in all spheres of society including politics, governance and financial sectors. Women parliamentarians said gender equality in politics is crucial to democracy and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the forum at 1IPU Assembly at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). Programme Officer of Gender Partnership Programme of IPU Zeina Hilal spoke on the achieving gender equality and parity in the parliament. “The global average of the women in national parliament is 23.3% up from 22.6% a year ago,” Zeina said, adding at this pace it would take another 50 years to reach gender parity in parliament. “A study by the IPU in October 2016 reveals that sexism, harassment and violence against women MPs are global problems that impede gender equality and undermine the foundations of democracy,” she added. The study reports that 81.8% of survey participants have experienced some form of psychological violence. Among them, some 44 per cent said they had received threats of death, rape, beatings or abduction during their parliamentary terms, including threats to kidnap or kill their children. “IPU’s study is based on in-depth interviews with 55 women MPs from 39 countries covering five regions of the world. It shows troubling level of psychological, sexual and physical violence.
A study by the IPU in October 2016 reveals that sexism, harassment and violence against women MPs are global problems that impede gender equality and undermine the foundations of democracy
“It is not acceptable and it should be stopped,” Zeina said. The paper shows that there are no women parliamentarians at five parliaments, while Rwanda Lower house, Bolivia lower house and Belgium upper house has more than 50 per cent women parliamentarians, said a participant of the debate. Referring to top executive posts in Banlgadesh being held by women including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Speaker of the Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and opposition Leader Khaleda Zia, Waseqa Ayesha Khan, a member of Bangladesh Parliament, said Bangladesh has made a good progress in participation of women in politics. “At present, 20.3% of women are in the current parliament, which indicates an active involvement in politics,” she added. Dola Sen, an Indian lawmaker, said although active participation of women is seen in political arena of India, women participation in Indian politics is still low compared to their male counterparts. She said patriarchal mindset, socio-cultural barrier are responsible for lower participation of women in politics. As women make up half of total population, Dola Sen said the participation of women must be equal to her male peers to promote women empowerment campaign. Lawmakers of different countries addressed the forum with former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni in the chair. The five-day long assembly will focus on taking decisive actions to end the rising social, political and economic inequalities and not to interfere internal affairs of states in the present global context. The 136th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly began on Saturday inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the South Plaza of the Parliament. The theme of this year’s IPU Assembly is-’Redressing Inequalities: Delivering on Dignity and well being for all will be discussed by a total of 1,348 delegates including 650 parliament members, 53 speakers, deputy speakers and 209 women parliamentarians of 131 countries. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Children’s Rights Activist Kailash Satyarthi will present the key-note paper on the topic at the assembly, today.