Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today alleged that it was a male-dominated society that had tried to implement the much-talked-about 'minus-two' formula, excluding Hasina and BNP chief Khaleda Zia from politics during the last caretaker government.
The premier came up with the allegation while addressing a function marking the International Women's Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Hasina, who also heads the ruling Awami League, said now the number of female political leaders at the top has marked a rise as the ruling party chief is a woman and the leaders of the opposition is also a woman apart from the female leader of another political party.
“That demonstrates that the efforts of the 'male-dominated society' have failed. What will they call it now? Instead of two, we’re now three,” she wondered.
Hasina has called upon all to vow afresh to establish an equality-based world where equal rights, honour and dignity of women would be enhanced.
Mentioning that the country’s more than half of the population are women, the prime minister said achieving the desired socioeconomic progress is impossible pushing the women away from the development process.
In this connection, she called upon both men and women to work together for building poverty- and illiteracy-free Bangladesh through ensuring women empowerment, equal rights, equal opportunities and their involvement in the mainstream national development.
Hasina urged the country’s womenfolk to be well-educated and establish themselves as equally as their male counterparts are in society saying they will have to build their own fortune as no one will come forward to help change their fate.
She mentioned that Bangladesh has been acclaimed across the world as a model when it comes to women empowerment and development, and said the credit of such achievement should go to those women who established rights and dignity breaking the socioeconomic and political shackles.
Hasina also recognised the role of men in this regard saying they worked alongside with their female counterparts as co-fighters rising above the patriarchy.
Expressing her sorrow over the ill-efforts of a section of society to keep the women confined to the four walls of home, the Prime Minister said they want to push the womenfolk out of rights of education and outside jobs by misinterpreting the religion. “This section is doing these things when our mothers and sisters are playing a laudable role in their development and political empowerment,” she said.
Earlier, a documentary highlighting government’s programmes for the development of women and contribution of our women to build an independent Bangladesh was presented.
Country Representative of the UN Women Bangladesh Christine Susan Hunter also spoke while Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Tariq-ul Islam delivered the welcome address.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki presided over the programme.
The government has chosen ‘Equality for women is progress for all’ as this year's theme of the day.