They organized a march and cultural programs on the theme of democracy to press home their 11-point demands
A group of women from different organizations has demanded the immediate repeal of all “oppressive laws,” including the Digital Security Act, to ensure equality between men and women in all aspects of life.
Under the banner of the International Women's Day Committee, they organized a march and cultural programs in Dhaka on the theme of democracy on Friday to press home their 11-point demands.
The march started from Shaheed Noor Hossain Square around 9am and proceeded towards Suhrawardy Udyan where they gathered for songs of resistance, dances, art and story sharing.
More than 200 women, including trans women, from all walks of life attended the program.
“Girls are regularly getting raped. They can't talk. They can't walk on the streets. They even have to fight for their seats in the parliament. Democracy is nowhere to be found,’’ Tamanna Khan, convener of International Women's Day Committee, said during the program.
Tasaffy Hossain, an activist, said: “Women are still neglected in their workplace and not enough women are in the positions of decision making. If we notice, then we will see that women work hard but get paid less than their male colleague.
“Apart from that, men are not being encouraged to change their attitude towards women in the workplace which should be changed. Otherwise, democracy does not mean anything.’’
“We want to talk in our own language but we can’t. We can’t tell our stories because of fear. We are oppressed for so many years and we demand justice for that. Fifty-seven case were filed till now but none of the cases have been tried yet,” said a tribal woman Maya Chakma.
A transgender woman, Jaya, said: “No one in the society accepted me as a woman. But today, they are accepting my leadership. I have come here after so many struggles and I choose to take more challenges.”
Members of Naripokkho said that they want a guarantee that the rights of the people -- including right to freedom of speech and movement, right to make decisions, right to question the authorities -- will be ensured.
The 11-point demands they placed during the program includes ensuring the equal rights for men and women and the abolition of religion-based family law of the constitution; amending all the discriminatory laws in the light of the UN Charter on the “Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women,” such as- equal inheritances for all children of any religion, race, group, gender.
They said that the freedom of expression and acceptance of others' opinions are both essential for democracy. Democracy is not only for the system of governance, spreading democratic values must be done through education and cultural activities everywhere.
The women organization also urged to ensure accountability of the administration and take specific steps to reduce corruption, an end to the patriarchal domination in the family by giving priority to women's education and employment.
They also demanded decentralization of government to facilitate the participation of women and all marginalized groups in governance and positive presentation of different roles of women in the textbook.
The organization demanded strong action to stop harassment of women on the road, on public transport and in the workplace, and to sign on the ILO Convention-190, to resolve the issue.
They also urged to increase the number of judges and tribunals to reduce the delay in trial of rape and violence against women.