Unsafe environment for women at workplace and other institutions is a major barrier to Bangladesh’s aspiration of becoming a middle income country, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.
Women, in general, will be benefited if victims and people from all walks of life raise their voices, they said at a programme at Bangladesh National Museum in Dhaka.
CARE Bangladesh, a US-based development organisation, held the programme titled “Sketching Women’s World of Work”.
Some 62 works of 16 photographers -- predominantly female -- were also displayed at an exhibition as part of the event, while a photobook was also unveiled.
The exhibition and the discussion highlighted the contribution of female workers in various formal and informal sectors, their challenges, and the necessity of ensuring their safety at work.
Speaking as chief guest, Monnujan Sufian, state minister for labor and employment, said, “Sexual harassment at work is happening in Bangladesh as well as all over the world. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina [and her government] is [positively] aware of the ILO convention.”
From June 10 to 21 this year, a new convention to ensure harassment and violence-free workplace, particularly for women workers, is expected to be adopted at ILO’s 108th conference in its Geneva headquarters.
Speaking as special guest, Shoko Ishikawa, country representative of UN Women in Bangladesh, spoke of recent incidents of violence against women and stressed on ensuring women-friendly institutional setting. “There is a lack of legal and institutional responses to violence against women in Bangladesh.”
Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO country director, said, “Empowering women requires a structural and attitudinal change.” He stressed vocational and technical training for young girls. The discussion was presided over by Zia Choudhury, country representative of CARE. Noted artists Monirul Islam and photographer Mohammad Rakibul Hasan also spoke at the discussion.