People and society have to change their disrespectful attitudes towards women to ensure the latter's advancement, speakers told the inaugural ceremony of a two-day shadow parliamentary debate competition on prevention of corruption yesterday.
Change of perception begins at the family level since the man learns to respect women by identifying with older male family members, said Rokia Afzal Rahman, a former caretaker government adviser.
The competition was organised by Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) on the occasion of International Women's Day based on the theme, "We want good governance and effective control of corruption for equality of women", at the capital's Bangla Academy.
Terming corruption one of the major evils of society, Rahman, also a TIB trustee, said "Women can move forward if we all jointly fight against corruption."
According to a survey, women are more emotional, honest, less likely to give and accept bribe, and they give priority to the greater good of society, said TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman.
"In developed countries which rank low on corruption index, it is seen that women have been empowered at national and political level," he said, highlighting the relation between a corruption-free society and women's advancement.
As chief guest of the programme, where 140 debaters from 17 colleges and universities of the country are taking part, State Minister for Women and Children's Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki replied to 33 questions put forward by the participants on women's issue.
The minister faced the barrage of questions about women's security and education in Chittagong Hill Tracts, cyber crimes, reserved seats in parliament, stalking, sexual harassment, counselling in educational institutions and workplace, and gender issues in madrasa education.
Urging the eager and conscious young people from the audience to join politics, the minister said, "Sincerity and honesty is needed not only in politics but in all spheres of society."
A situation paper describing the current status of women in Bangladesh and ways forward was presented by TIB's Programme Manager (Gender) Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, placing 11 demands including proper implementation of the 2011 national women's policy.