Speakers: Empower women for sustainable future

Many women are still unaware that they are entitled to dignity, says Runa Khan

Bangladesh can have a sustainable future if every empowered woman empowers at least one other woman, according to Runa Khan, founder of non-governmental organization (NGO) Friendship. 

It is often the case that women, whether they are at the top or marginalized, are unaware that they are entitled to dignity, she added.

“We are doing better than many countries, but that is not enough. We are still behind in bringing the full potential of girls to light,” she said while speaking at a view-exchange meeting with journalists at the organization’s head office in Baridhara on Tuesday. 

She also said women empowerment is often associated with destroying family harmony and the fabric of society, and it is time to change the narrative. “Our target is to keep harmony within families and communities. Women empowerment does not disrupt any harmony.”

“Our pioneers, like Begum Rokeya, created a chain of strong and empowered women and it is your responsibility to not become the weaker ones in the chain,” Khan added.

She told reporters that Friendship has been giving priority to women's rights, empowerment, and education in marginalized areas.

“Due to alternative teaching and special arrangements during Covid-19, it was possible to reduce the dropout rate of female students at the secondary level,” she said. 

Head of Friendship’s Inclusive Citizenship sector Barrister Ayesha Taasin Khan, Head of Health sector Dr Kazi Golam Rasul, and Head of Sustainable Economic Development Md Kamal Uddin also spoke to the media at the event. 

The speakers said the online legal information and service booth established by Friendship in Kurigram had received a huge response and helped the protection of women's rights.