Women’s empowerment has been a major agenda for the Sheikh Hasina-led administration and its importance could scarcely reflect anywhere better than Tangail.
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Ishrat Sadmin, Mirzapur UNO[/caption]
The historic district with its proximity to Dhaka and a rich heritage – especially from the Liberation War and developing leaders like Maulana Bhasani – has emerged as the stomping grounds for a number of government officers in the field.
There are 12 upazilas in the district. Nine of them are being run by women holding the position of upazila nirbahi officer (UNO). Six of the assistant commissioners (Land) are also women. Each officer has earned her way into the forefront with their excellent execution and unilaterally acclaimed by the people they serve.
These women are out there in the field every day, dispelling the notion that they are mere token representation for women’s participation.
The UNO and AC (Land) are crucial figures in the local government administration in Bangladesh. The UNO is the chief executive in charge of coordinating all government activities in the upazila, collection of revenue, and disbursement of funds among other duties. The AC (Land) works for the Department of Land Records and Survey under the Ministry of Land. Their lofty functions include taking surveys, mapping regions, record-keeping of land, recover and develop water bodies, supervise lease of public lands, and determine and collect tax on land.
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Arifa Siddika, UNO, Dhanbari[/caption]
The meritocracy prevailing in the field administration of Tangail has since been praised lavishly for its role in eliminating the dated idea that women cannot work in the field.
Ishrat Sadmin, Mirzapur UNO, a cadre for the 28th batch of BCS, graduated from Bangladesh Agricultural University. She formerly worked as an intelligence officer.
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Asma Shahin, UNO, Nagarpur[/caption]
Arifa Siddika, a cadre from the 30th BCS batch, has been serving as the UNO for Dhanbari upazila since September. She graduated from Bangladesh Agricultural University in Mymensingh.
Dilruba Sharmin is another English graduate, but from Jahangirnagar University. She has been serving as the UNO for Gopalpur since May.
Shahina Akhter, UNO for Kalihati, is a cadre from the 27th BCS batch. She studied economics at Dhaka University.
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Dilruba Sharmin, UNO, Gopalpur[/caption]
Jinat Jahan is the UNO for Bauphal upazila. She is a cadre of the 27th batch of BCS.
Sabina Yasmoni is the latest addition to the list. A 30th BCS batch cadre, she joined as UNO for Delduar upazila on December 6.
Asma Shahin is UNO for Nagarpur upazila. A Dhaka University graduate and 27th BCS cadre, she has been at her job since July.
Shamsun Nahar Swapna serves as the UNO for Basail upazila is. She is another graduate of the Bangladesh Agricultural University and member of the 30th batch of BCS.
Mousumi Sarkar Rakhi was appointed as the UNO for Sakhipur in February. An English graduate from Rajshahi University, she is another BCS cadre from the 28th batch.
The officers of the land
Siddhate-i-Jahan is another BCS cadre from the 31st batch. She is the AC (Land) for Madhupur upazila. She is from Dinajpur's Kaharole. She is a graduate of the Department of English from Dhaka University.
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Jinat Jahan, UNO, Tangail Sadar[/caption]
Ambia Sultana, AC (Land) for Ghatail since February, is a graduate of the Department of Chemistry from Dhaka University.
Nafisa Akhter, AC (Land) for Kalihati, is a 31st BCS batch cadre. She too, is a Dhaka University alumnus.
Ayesha Jannat Tahera, AC (Land) for Sakhipur, obtained a degree in sociology from Dhaka University and is also a cadre of the 33rd BCS batch.
Umme Kulsum Sampa from Sher-e-Bangla Agriculture University was appointed as the AC (land) for Basail in October.
Akhterunnessa is the AC (Land) for Delduar. A graduate of the 31st BCS batch, she also majored in zoology from Rajshahi University.
What are they doing?
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Mousumi Sarkar Rakhi, UNO, Sakhipur[/caption]
UNO Ishrat of Mirzapur gained widespread prominence for her devout campaign against child marriage and mobile court operations. The improvement in Mirzapur's law and order conditions and rural infrastructural development of industrial areas is often credited to her.
Early in her career as AC (Land) for Kalihati, Ishrat braced a stormy night to attend the funeral of a freedom fighter. This act of vigilance, along with her other achievements, garnered her the title of “Lady Fatakeshto” (Fatakeshto is a popular Indian film character, a government administrator with unshakeable resolve and terrifying dedication to duty, played by Mithun) from Mirzapur denizens.
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Sabina Yasmoni, UNO, Delduar[/caption]
Each of these officers have similar stories for their effective coordination, vital decision-making, acting as magistrates, conducting mobile courts in public interest, governing law and order, supervision of development activities, implementation of healthcare drives, combating sexual harassment and drugs, improvement of education, and disaster management.
The exemplary government officers have an enviable devotion to the country and the people.
Mirzapur UNO Ishrat told the Dhaka Tribune: “I do not think my gender is relevant when there is work to be done. My sense of responsibility and devotion to our country prompted me to pursue this line of work. If Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can run the country as effectively as a woman, we surely can do our part as well.”
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Shahina Akhter, UNO, Kalihati[/caption]
According to Sakhipur UNO Mousumi Sarkar, the administration has been effective at promoting a women-friendly at the grassroots level. She says determination and perspective are the most important assets in the workplace.
“Once you effectively execute your task, you set a precedent. And everyone else will learn to cooperate with you.”
Shahina Akhter, UNO of Kalihati, told the Dhaka Tribune: “I am working honestly and devotedly. I have some plans including prevention of child marriage in the upazila.”
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Shamsun Naher Sopna, UNO, Basail[/caption]
Tangail Deputy Commissioner Khan Mohammad Nurul Amin told the Dhaka Tribune: “Women constitute half the population. It is absurd to even imagine development without women. The nine UNOs and 6 ACs (land) are setting examples for others to follow. This is concrete proof of how women are becoming more and more active in every sector of the country.”
A woman’s professional achievements warrant acknowledgment. Gender gap is a large obstacle that the brave women of Bangladesh have been constantly fighting. Their identity and responsibility as a professional is concurrent with their identity as a daughter or a mother or a wife.
These women are proof of a system that is transparent enough to evaluate an individual based on their capabilities.
It is safe to say Tangail is in the finest of hands.