The Norwegian embassy hosted an event celebrating Women's Day at Ambassador Sidsel Bleken's residence on Monday night.
The ambassador, along with the Swedish Ambassador Johan Frisell and the Head of Cooperation of The Danish International Development Agency (Danida) Peter Bogh Jensen hosted the event honouring Bangladeshi women from all walks of life who are breaking the gender barrier.
Norwegian Ambassador Sidsel Bleken spoke on the need for women's emancipation in all spheres of life, saying: “Women empowerment is important not only on an individual level, it is equally important for society. Women’s participation in politics as well as in the formal economy is crucial for a country’s development.”
Speaking on violence against women, gender inequality and discrimination Sidsel Bleken said:“It happens everywhere – It’s a violation of women’s fundamental rights. It is both a cause and a consequence of inequalities between women and men. We really need to do better to deal with this.”
The women who were honoured at the event have shown remarkable strength in overcoming challenges posed by society to empower themselves.
Women such as Sandha Rani Mistri, a low-caste Hindu woman who has been an elected local union parishad member from Banaripara Upazila of Barisal thrice, said she had to overcome the barriers posed by society after she became a teenaged widow to be where is she in life now.
A domestic violence survivor, Rubina Ahmed began her journey with buying a sewing machine to make dolls. After divorcing her abusive husband, she has become financially independent having turned her doll making into a business.
In an attempt to highlight sexual harassment on campus, twenty-year-old Sumaya Rahman from the faculty of law, Rajshahi University became an activist using theatre to highlight the issue both on and off campus.
President of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (BFWE) Rokia Afzal Rahman was the chief guest at the event and spoke on how she became successful in her professional life empasising that entrepreneurship is the key to helping women achieve equal rights in society.