HPM Sheikh Hasina proposes three points to strengthen UN's strive for achieving gender equality

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Published on September 21, 2022
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today laid emphasis on the integration of women in the decision-making process, saying that it is important to have them in the leadership team to reflect on the solutions and benefit from their experiences and perspective.

"Women are disproportionately affected during crises. It is, therefore, important to integrate women in decision-making for finding an effective solution to the crises," she said.

Sheikh Hasina noted that women are shining in each and every sector, breaking all the stereotyping and showing indomitable courage and leadership skills.

The premier made these remarks while addressing a “High-Level Meeting of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders Convened by the President of the General Assembly Csaba Korösi” at the Trusteeship Council in the United Nations Headquarters.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today’s Interlinked Challenges”.

Sheikh Hasina strongly felt that it was high time to utilise the network (UNGA Platform of Women Leaders) to share views on tackling the complex global challenges and bring positive outcomes not only for their respective countries but also for mankind.

From the point of view of her country, the Bangladesh premier said, they look forward to continuing participating in the UN’s efforts to encourage women leaders globally.

She highlighted three points localising the advisory board on gender equality, nurturing and supporting the women-led civil society organisations with sufficient political and financial means and convening a Leaders’ Summit to reinforce common agenda for gender equality.

In her first point, Sheikh Hasina recommends founding the advisory board on gender equality. "This now needs to be localized. We need gender champions at all levels, especially at the grass-root level, and we can lead by example."

Besides, women-led civil society organizations need to be nurtured and supported with sufficient political and financial means, she said in her second point, adding that the UN has an important role in supporting such efforts.

Finally, she invited all to convene a Leaders’ Summit to reinforce their common agenda for gender equality. "All leaders – not just us - should join and present concrete commitments for advancing gender equality and women empowerment."

Talking about Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken various steps to empower women and girls, secure their legal protections and create new ways for them to attain financial freedom.

To this end, she said that Bangladesh substantially achieved Goal three of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by ensuring gender parity in primary and secondary education.

“We are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender equality and empowering women,” she added.

She also mentioned that about 27 per cent of the national budget is allocated for women’s social and economic empowerment activities.

In the political spectrum, the premier said, Bangladesh has ensured representation of women at all levels, from the top to the lowest tier of government. "We are bringing our women to the forefront of all economic activities."

Encouraging women's entrepreneurship is a key policy goal of her government, she said, adding: “We've taken specific policy actions, such as fostering a gender-neutral legal framework for the business ensuring equal access to finance for female and male entrepreneurs.”

She said Bangladesh's central bank is providing collateral-free loans up to Taka 2.5 million to women entrepreneurs.

The head of government mentioned that 15 per cent of funds of the refinancing scheme, 10 per cent of industrial plots and 10 per cent of small entrepreneur funds are allocated to women.

“Every bank and non-bank financial institution has a dedicated desk for women entrepreneurs,” she said.

She also said that over four million women are employed in the readymade garments industry, while some 35 per cent of the country's women have bank accounts and women’s contribution to the GDP growth is 34 per cent.

“We aim at ensuring 40 per cent participation of women in every sector by 2021 and 50 per cent by 2030,” she added.