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04.06.2009 Feature Article

Women Empowerment and Digital Bangladesh

Our national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote- the Good done by the civilization, half created by man and rests by the women. This is an eternal statement about the development of human civilization. From the dawn of the civilization women and men worked together to make the future brighter.

In a certain point of the social development process a few socially determined factors created a cultural hemisphere, which pushed the civilization not to think women as equal to the men. This cultural phenomenon changed the thought process of society and the society started discrimination between women and men and ultimately women become a deprived part of society.

Modern social science looked into the social disorder and termed it as gender discrimination. This discrimination is sharply visible in our social and state level activities and attitude.

To address this issue there are many initiatives taken by the state, society, UN system, PVDOs and NGOs over the world. Now women development is a common issue of all UN member nations.

In view of eliminating gender discrimination, Bangladesh also has many initiatives in rural and urban areas both. Considering all those social phenomena, present government included Women development in priorities and it was also one of the election commitments that given to the people by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

It was told that Digital Bangladesh is a dream of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that expressed the willingness to use IT in the field of management, administration and governance to ensure transparency, accountability and answerability at all levels of society and state.

By depriving half of the population, that is the women of the nation, the dream of a Digital Bangladesh will remain only a dream. To transform the dream in to reality women development is the most essential part of national development planning; especially it is the pat of National human resource planning.

It is a cruel reality; women are deprived in family and society, in decision making process, in administrative process of governance and most importantly in economic activities. Even the women contribute in the process of social development, which has also financial value, are being ignored by the society.

To ensure the participation of women in the said process they need to be empowered mentally, economically and politically. That is why modern social science termed women development as the Empowerment of Women. Empowerment of women is linked to the total human emancipation.

As government activities are concern, the Ministry of women and children affairs is the key organ to look after the development and interest of the women flock of the country. This government organ is working through the department of women affairs and Jatio Mohila Parishad directly for the betterment of women.

As Bangladesh is a part of Beijing platform for action, several ministries including women affairs, education, agriculture, environment and forest, fisheries, health and family welfare, home, industry, labor, law, local government, rural development, social welfare and Planning are working in an integrated manner for empowering the women.

As political empowerment is concern, it has started form the year 1996 when Sheik Hasina was leading the government as prime minister. At that period, directly elected representatives from women was included in local government level.

Presently this process gets extra momentum as one vice-chairman at Upazilla level already been included and deputy mayor at municipality level is going to be included.

Moreover substantial number of women was nominated in last parliamentary election from Awami league led coalition, which obtained mandate form the people. One thing must be mentioned that number of women parliamentarian is the record in 9th parliament that indicates the political development among women.

Social empowerment of women is deep rooted in the mind set of a society, which contents in women and men both. Some time both of the section of society contents similar idea on an issue that could be against women empowerment.

To overcome social barriers, it needs a movement, which already been started in our society. Once conservatives are now not that much of against to the women role, which is enriching the society and state.

In true sense social empowerment of women depends on the progressiveness of state, society and individuals. Present government is secular in nature, stronger to create progressive social mobilization and that is the ray of hope to build a society with openness, where women will be socially empowered.

Economical empowerment of women remains with the involvement of women in economic activities. This initiative is also already been started in the frame of our state and society. As an election commitment, this government is also more attentive to the women participation in economic activities.

Employment, self-employment and entrepreneurship are the main segments of economic activities. To encourage women for performing in economy, it is not only the responsibility of government alone. Public-Private partnership, GO-NGO partnership and Private initiative are the needs to make the women economically empowered.

For a digital Bangladesh, all activities related to the women empowerment are also connected to the philosophy of digital Bangladesh Approach. So women need to be digitally empowered.

As the ground is being prepared to empowering women in social, political and economical level, it could be hoped that our mothers and sisters will be emancipated soon.

Mohoshin Abbas
Mohoshin Abbas, © 2009

The author has 26 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: MohoshinAbbas

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