Finance Minister AMA Muhith has proposed Tk1,37,742 crore for women’s development
Prioritizing women’s development, Bangladesh has seen the highest allocation in history in the women development sector in the budget for 2018-19 fiscal year.
In his budget speech at parliament on Thursday, Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed Tk1,37,742 crore for women’s development, which is 5.43% of GDP and 29.65% of the total budget.
This allocation was proposed for 43 ministries and divisions.
In this sector, women’s advancement through access to education, health, labour market, employment, and social protection have been prioritized.
In the outgoing budget of 2017-18 fiscal year, the government allocated Tk1,12,019 crore for this sector.
However, during the first gender budget in FY2009-10, only Tk27,248 crore was proposed.
Other than the special attention on the promotion of education for girls and women, the government is prioritizing training and creating opportunities for self-employment and ensuring easy access to microcredit for the neglected-destitute-physically challenged women and poor working mothers who have been brought under social safety net.
Mentioning women’s gradual increase in becoming active and formal partners of government’s socio-economic development activities, Muhith said: “The government is playing a crucial role in women’s development and empowerment by formulating a legal framework to combat violence against women, preparing a gender responsive budget, and taking development projects.”
He also proposed a committee to evaluate the agenda of gender budget formulation being pursued over the last 10 years. The committee will make recommendations on improving or reforming this initiative by analysing the full procedure employed.
The budget, allocated for 43 ministries, identifies three broad sections – empowering women and enhancing their social dignity, improving women’s productivity and participation in labour market, and widening women’s effective access to general public sector services and income generating activities.
In the first gender budget only four ministries were responsible for the allocation whereas 43 ministries are now involved.
The government also proposed a special allocation for women’s entrepreneurship as in previous years.
“We are allocating Tk100 crore for the Women Entrepreneurship Fund and Tk 25 crore for Women Development Special Fund for the advancement of women,” the finance minister said.
Emphasising women’s economic activity and determination to utilize the full productivity and potential of women, he said, “We are providing appropriate training, accommodation, daycare centres for their children, and women-friendly public transports, among others. We are giving one year for the mandatory provision for keeping seats for women in public transports by 2020.”
Mentioning the rise in gender violence, Muhith said Tk479 crore was proposed for training and awareness building programs to prevent such violence.
The number of working women increased to 18.6 million in 2016-17 from 16.2 million in 2010.
Bangladesh stood 47th among 144 countries in 2017 in the “Global Gender Gap Report.”