A wellbeing index for women should be introduced to assess the real progress of working females, said noted economist Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud yesterday.
He proposed the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, an initiative established to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 agenda, prepare the index as there is no data about the development of the working women.
The economist made the proposal while addressing a dialogue titled “Global Development Agenda and Women's Rights: New Considerations”, jointly organised by the Citizen's Platform for SDGs and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad at the CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka.
Mahmud said Bangladesh did remarkably well in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the economy grew steadily. But there has not been significant improvement in the areas of child marriage, violence against women and dowry, which indicate the improvement of women's condition.
“Still women are the victim of violence and wage discrimination,” he said.
The economist said the wellbeing index will show how happy women are in their life, whether there is creativity in their work or are forced to work, and the leisure time they get every day.
Meher Afroze Chumki, state minister for women and children affairs, said the government alone can't establish the rights of women. So, all stakeholders will have to play their due role.
“Women have been left behind. So, they have to be given privileges in every sphere of their life.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can't be achieved unless women's rights are ensured, said Rakhi Das Purakayastha, joint general secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad.
“The barriers to empowering women should be addressed to make progress in the SDGs,” she said in her keynote presentation.
Salma Ali, executive director of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers' Association, said there are various laws and guidelines to protect women from violence but little implementation.
She called for budgetary allocation and monitoring of the implementation of the laws.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, chaired the dialogue. Prof Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission and Selima Ahmad, president of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also spoke.