Democracy International (DI) on Tuesday convened a round-table discussion titled “Advancing Women’s Leadership in Elections,” focusing on increasing involvement of women in leadership roles in the upcoming general election.
The programme was organised under the Strengthening Political Landscape (SPL) project, jointly funded by USAID and UKAID and implemented by DI, at the Lakehsore Hotel in Gulshan, Dhaka, said a press release.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat attended the event as chief guest, while Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda, Awami League Standing Committee members HT Imam and Dr Hasan Mahmud, and BNP Standing Committee members Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan were also among speakers.
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Around 150 female political leaders from Awami League and BNP presented their recommendations on opportunities to support and advance women’s leadership within political parties and in elections to key central party decision makers and the Chief Election Commissioner.
The recommendations include-
- Establishment of monitoring cells in the election commission and political parties to monitor the implementation of article 90B of the Representation of the People Order, which requires the inclusion of 33% women in all mainstream political party leadership committees
- Inclusion of 33% women in political party nomination committees, with the goal of nominating female candidates to 33% of the general election seats
- Creation of area based observation units to ensure the security of female candidates
- Increases in political party leadership training and capacity building in support of female candidates
- Incentives for political parties who nominate female candidates for general seats.
Katie Croake, chief of party at Democracy International, said: “I’m encouraged by the progress made by political parties to include more women in leadership positions and am confident that they will continue to build on this progress by nominating more women for general election seats and increasing the number of women in mainstream party leadership committees.”
The US Government, through USAID, has provided more than $6 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971. In 2016, USAID provided nearly $200 million to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resiliency to climate change.
The UK supports democracy around the world through country-specific support, and by working to develop an international political environment supportive of democratic transitions. UKAID works with regional organisations (the EU, the AU, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth) to strengthen their democracy work.