Speakers also emphasized the importance of men’s engagement for ensuring gender equality inside families
Speakers have said gender equality should start at home and families should be agents of positive change when it comes to gender disparity.
They made the comments a discussion organized by ActionAid Bangladesh ahead of International Women's Day in the capital's Sufia Kamal National Public Library on Tuesday.
Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh Farah Kabir said that families should be held accountable for gender inequality, because children learn from those who are older than them in the family.
Speakers also emphasized the importance of men’s engagement for ensuring gender equality inside families.
Nobonita Chowdhury, director of Preventing Violence Against Women Initiative, Brac, said: "There should be a code of conduct for boys in every family. People in most families bar their daughters from playing outdoors or ask them to wear an "orna," a loose scarf like shawl that covers the chest, when she hits puberty. However, they do not teach their sons to be empathetic and compassionate."
Questioning the practice of saving up money for daughters to give her a grand wedding, she added: "People do this to show how much they care for their daughters. Instead, I think, investing that money on their daughters' education would be of more help."
The concept of an inclusive society should come from families, said Tasnuva Shishir, who identifies herself as a transgender woman.
"We are also women. Our families cast us out when we come out," said Tasnuva, adding that gender equality is a crucial part of an inclusive and egalitarian society.
Associate Prof Syed Saikh Imtiaz, former chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies of Dhaka University, said women should speak up for themselves rather than waiting for men to protect them.
At the program, a total of eight women were awarded the Nasrin Smriti Padak 2020 for their outstanding contributions to society and women empowerment.
The award recipients are Gayatree Rani Ray, Beli Begum, Miti Begum, Srimoti Nanda Rani Barman, Bulbuli Begum, Asia Begum, Rahela Begum, and Sondha Rani Malakar.