Bangladesh has made extraordinary progress in almost all indicators of women empowerment among Asian countries, and this progress will be further accelerated in future, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.
They also said women's participation in all sectors, especially in small and medium enterprises (SME) is satisfactory; however, social security needs to be ensured fully.
Marking International Women's Day, Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs Bangladesh (AGWEB) organised the discussion at CIRDAP auditorium.
Some four lakh women entrepreneurs have received funds worth $3.3 billion in 2010-17, said Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.
“Women are moving ahead in all sectors. Some 122 UNOs are women out of 470 in the country. Women contribute in 17 steps of agriculture out of 21,” he said.
Lawmaker Aroma Dutta said, “There are 12,000 women working as union parishad members. This is definitely a positive step.”
Speakers also said the ratio of loan defaulters is quite low among female entrepreneurs in comparison to men.
Only five to six percent of them are loan defaulters, and female entrepreneurs appoint around 85 percent women as employees in their industries, said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of Association of Bankers.
Bangladesh has ranked 47 in global gender gap last year while India lagged far behind (below 100), he mentioned. They also informed that BB has planned to disburse 10 percent out of 25 percent of the bank's allotted SME loan among women.
At the discussion, Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, chairman of National Board of Revenue, said, “Jakia Sultana was made the first woman secretary in 1996. Today, there are at least eight women secretaries. We hope that this number will increase soon.”
Despite all sorts of progress, lack of security is still a threat against sustainable development of women, said Shah A Sarwar, chairperson of IFIC Bank.
“To overcome this, ensuring a speedy justice system is important,” Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan opined.
Conducted by Mousumi Islam, president of AGWEB, and Shomi Kaiser, director of FBCCI, women entrepreneurs from different organisations spoke at the programme.