Some 167 women aged between 11 and 29 came to Dhaka against every 100 men for work in 2016, while the number was 166 for Chattogram.
“This indicates female migration within the country is increasing day by day, as is their participation in workforce,” said Prof Sadeka Halim, dean of Dhaka University's Faculty of Social Sciences, citing a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) study revealed in 2016.
She was presenting a keynote yesterday at the inaugural session of the two-day long “Gender Fest 2019” marking International Woman's Day.
Department of Women and Gender Studies (DWGS) of DU organised the event.
Expressing concerns over acceleration of gender-based violence (GBV), speakers at the programme said preventive measures should be strengthened in parallel to ensuring equal access for women everywhere.
In her keynote, Prof Halim said, “Some 1.62 crore women out of 5.41 crore-strong workforce are working in different sectors across the country.”
The former information commissioner also said equal rights for women in property were revoked by amending the “National Women Development Policy 1997” in 2007, and it is still not addressed due to “political reasons”.
Speakers said the current women's development situation in Bangladesh is satisfactory, but there are still some gaps.
Speaking as chief guest, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said, “It is clear that there is discrimination of power [among men and women] across the globe… Women become the victim of same type of violence worldwide.”
Criticising previous governments for revoking women's equal right to property, she said, “It has now become difficult to return to National Women Development Policy 1997 for us.”
“Women have reached a position that was unthinkable 20 years ago. But violence towards women and children is still a matter of disappointment,” said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation.
She also stressed on strengthening preventive measures in terms of gender-based violence.
Prof Nasreen Ahmad, pro-vice chancellor of DU, said, “We see videos on Youtube of fatwas being given against women. It's one kind of women bashing, and is creating imbalance in the society.”
Najma Chowdhury, emeritus professor and the founder chairperson of DWGS, thanked everyone for attending the ceremony.
Kathlyn Bryant, acting deputy mission director of USAID Bangladesh, in her speech praised the Bangladesh government for allotting 27 percent of the annual budget for women's development.
Dr Sanzida Akhter, chairperson of DWGS, chaired the programme while teachers and students of the department also attended.
The festival includes a gender book fair, short film competition, poster exhibition, panel discussion, dance performance and musical shows.