Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

‘Women empowerment’ cannot be mere lip service

It is incredibly important that “women’s empowerment” not become a mere buzzword

Update : 10 Dec 2023, 10:35 AM

Yes, it is incontrovertibly true that women are now in a far better position, at least economically, than at any other point in the history of Bangladesh. However, it is also true that there are still innumerable social barriers which hold women back from fulfilling their potential in this nation.

In terms of women’s participation in the economy, we absolutely agree with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when she expresses that women are more empowered than ever, but the fact of the matter remains that we are far from the future that Begum Rokeya had envisioned -- a future where women are treated as equal beings and are free to exercise their right to self determination.

As a nation, Bangladesh is only half a century old, with misogyny and chauvinism all but weaved into our very social fabric -- victims of rampant social ills such as child marriage and cyber crime, to name a few, comprise primarily of women. Yes, Bangladesh has proven itself better than most developed nations in electing women as the head of state but, as we’d editorialized earlier, there is still a glaring void when it comes to women’s participation in politics, with only 128 women candidates set to contest the upcoming election -- less than 5% of the total number of candidates.

This is what lies at the heart of this problem: If there are less than a handful of women involved with policy-making who could advocate for women’s rights, then social progress for women will eventually stall.

Women are half of our nation’s population, and it is incredibly important that “women’s empowerment” not become a mere buzzword that succumbs to semantic satiation. If women are held back, we all are held back.
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