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Are women really being empowered in Bangladesh?

"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women." - Kofi Annan.
Fabiha Bushra
Are women really being empowered in Bangladesh?

How many of us actually know about women empowerment? The amount won't be huge probably. The process of empowering women is called women empowerment.

Can that empowerment process be performed by giving power, money or position to them? No. That's not all what actually need. The process needs gender equity, support, respect, education, social acceptance and so on. Many think that in this 21st century, women empowerment has taken place largely. Women are now getting access to every sector like education, medical, science, business, defence, politics, sports, etc. They are earning lots of successes and appreciations by their work. As a result, we've presumed that women have got everything what they deserve. They have reached the destined position where they wanted to be. Is that so? We congratulate women who are famous, who are successful or made themselves capable for higher positions. But they are not the all. An empowerment doesn't mean the empowerment of a few or a distinct number of people. It means everyone will be empowered on their own positions.

Nowadays women are getting opportunities to prove themselves worthy, they are empowering themselves gradually all over the world. In western countries particularly, a huge number of women are employed everywhere or they are self-employed. In every country women are getting opportunity to prove their worth. But there is nothing unmixed in the world. When many countries, especially western countries, are giving opportunities to their female citizens to develop themselves, many countries in Middle East and South Asia for example, are not so much willing to give their female citizens access to every sector.

In Saudi Arabia, once women weren't allowed to see the sun without the permission of their male guardians such as father, brother or husband. Now the scenario is changing. Just a few years ago, women in Saudi Arabia weren't not allowed to travel, go to stadium or cinema without any male guardian, or work without the consent of their male guardians. But the scenario is improving.  Now woman are allowed to travel, go to the cinema hall to watch movie and can go to stadium alone to enjoy matches.

If we turn our attention to South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others, the scenario is not so encouraging. The News International has published a report on GSMA survey which showed that gender gap in mobile ownership in Pakistan is 38 percent with 81 percent of male adult population owning mobile phones compared to women. That’s really very discriminating. There most of the women get married before they complete their studies. Though women are found participating in some sectors like politics, cricket, film industry, TV channels and so on but there are many families who do not want their women working outside.

As we all know India is one of the largest democratic countries.  But till now women have to fight for their right there. Though women of India are becoming self dependent nowadays, in some states of India, women get married at a very early age and the dowry systems are still going on. According to a report of BBC, "Roughly 12% of the missing women disappear at birth, 25% die in childhood, 18% at the reproductive ages, and 45% at older ages. These findings point to life-long neglect of women in India. It also proves that a strong preference for sons over daughters - leading to sex selective abortions - is just part of the story. Many Indian women face threats to life at every stage - violence, inadequate healthcare, inequality, neglect, bad diet, lack of attention to personal health and well-being."

In Bangladesh where the prime minister is a woman, the opposition leader is a woman, the speaker is a woman; women’s rights are not fully recongnised here, let alone their empowerment. Here many people appreciate the women who are in the higher positions, but in general they don’t want or support their women to go further. It is not just the men, women also think that girls should stay at home.

Women empowerment is a must for society. It is a matter of hope that not only the developed countries but developing countries also are taking many steps like education for free, stipends, loan for starts-up with scanty interest rates and so on for making women capable and self-dependent. Now it’s time to change our mindset and our ideas, and support women's for their development.

The writer is a student of Department Of Tourism & Hotel Management, University Of Dhaka


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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