Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been conferred with the “Agent of Change” award and “Planet 50-50 Champion” honour for her outstanding contributions to women empowerment.
The UN Women recognised the PM as Planet 50-50 Champion, while the Global Partnership Forum honoured her with the award at a reception at the UN headquarters on Wednesday.
President of the Republic of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and First Lady of the United Nations Ban Soon-taek were also given the honours along with the Bangladesh premier.
Laksmi Puri, deputy executive director of UN Women, delivered the welcome address and read out citations for the awards.
Receiving the award, Hasina said: “I feel humbled by these recognitions... I thank UN Women and Global Partnership Forum for giving me this honour.”
She said the honour was a big recognition for Bangladeshi women as the true agents of change. “This is a recognition for our women working in equal partnership with our men.... I dedicate the awards to the people of Bangladesh for having faith in my vision for change.”
Hasina remembered her father, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, for raising her with that vision.
“I believe sustainable future of our planet is a shared responsibility of our women and men. We have arrived at a time in our history when gender equality is no longer an aspiration, but a real possibility everywhere.”
The path to women's empowerment has not been easy, and would not always be smooth, she added. “But we must forge ahead with courage and determination.”
The PM said she dreams of a world where women's rights would be respected by all and violence and discriminations against them would be things of the past.
She expressed her gratefulness to Bangladeshis for giving solid proof of the country's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“On their behalf, I reaffirm our pledge to implement the SDGs, with gender equality at the core,” Hasina said.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Global Partnerships Forum President and CEO Amir Dossal gave the closing remarks.
Local Government Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam, PM's Energy Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, State Minister for Labour and Employment Mujibul Haque and State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam were present, among others.