All should work in unison to establish a society and state based on equality, without which a developed country cannot be achieved, speakers told a roundtable in a Cox's Bazar hotel yesterday.
In this regard, noted women's rights leader and lawmaker Khorshed Ara Haque, addressing as the chief guest, pledged to speak out in parliament so as to bring necessary amendments to existing laws preventing violence against women.
The Daily Star and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the roundtable, “International Women's Day 2016, Planet 50:50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality and against Gender Based Violence”.
Stopping violence against women first requires a change in attitudes said Saimum Rahman Tahsin, a student of Cox's Bazar Government High School, accusing law enforcement agencies of not discharging duties properly to prevent such violence.
Women have to unite and be conscious in order to establish their rights while stopping child marriages at the grassroots can reduce the violence to some extent, said Naima Akter, studying in class X at Cox's Bazar Government Girls High School.
Another student, Akima Mostain Jimmy, from Cox's Bazar Govt College said the laws were there to prevent the violence, those were just not being implemented properly.
His peer, Shibli, said parents' attitude towards the girl child needs to change too.
Chaity Das, who studied in class XI of the college, said cyber crimes were a major cause of the increase in violence against women, urging the government to establish a separate agency to contain the crime.
Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former managing editor of The Daily Star and former pro-vice chancellor of Brac University, moderated the programme.
UNFPA Project Technical Officer Romana Parveen and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Gender Adviser Romena Akter presented the concept paper.
Cox's Bazar's Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Anupam Saha, Additional District Superintendent of Police Md Ferdous Ali Chowdhury, the district Women Assistance Centre Manager Rafia Akhter, National Women Lawyers' Association Senior Law Officer Sajjatunnessa Lipi and representatives of different professions also spoke.