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PM seeks enlarged space for women for better future

  • Published at 10:36 am September 21st, 2016
  • Last updated at 10:38 am September 21st, 2016
PM seeks enlarged space for women for better future
"I believe societies that create space for women's participation and empowerment will have no room for violent extremism . . . we must continue to widen that space for building a sustainable future," she said. The Bangladesh premier made the remark as she was addressing a side-event on Women's Leadership and Gender Perspective on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the Conference Room of the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted the event. Noting that terrorism and violent extremism are affront to civilised societies, Sheikh Hasina said they undermine peace and security, sustainable development and respect for human dignity. The premier said she was happy to see the UN secretary general's new plan of action recognised women's role and leadership in preventing violent extremism. "I believe education for all, especially for girls, is a powerful tool to address radical behaviour and violent extremism. I encourage our mothers to act as role models and mentor their children," she added. Listing various steps of her government for promoting women's empowerment, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh's primary schools have more than sixty percent of female teaching staff and they are spreading the values of tolerance, inclusion and diversity among young minds. "Our children must be protected against extremist narratives," she said. Sheikh Hasina mentioned that the women in police are working with communities to build trust and confidence as well as the female members in local governments are reaching out to families to raise awareness against radicalisation. She said the women members in parliament represent women's voices in public policies for preventing and countering violent extremism. "We see a new trend among violent extremists to recruit women. We're trying to understand what prompts these women to join such a wrong cause. Our government maintains 'zero tolerance' against all forms of terrorism and violent extremism," she said. The prime minister said that the National Women Development Policy ensures equal opportunities and entitlement for women while progress in empowering women has sidelined the religious extremist agenda. "For us, a terrorist is a terrorist, and does not have any religion, belief or creed," she said. Sheikh Hasina said at the grassroots, her government has been providing women with skills and training to have their voices heard in resolving conflicts and building peace. She pointed out that the present government took up projects with the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), where women actively take part in decision-making and implementation. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali was present at the podium. The premier's ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Local Government Minister Engineer Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam BSc, Energy Adviser Dr Towfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Ministry Dr Dipu Moni were present at the audience desk.