Stop repression on women: PM | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, December 10, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, December 10, 2009

Stop repression on women: PM

Razia Hossain, Mamtaz Hossen win Begum Rokeya Padak 2009

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged people of all walks of life to join forces and work decisively to stop repression and oppression on women.
She was addressing the Rokeya Padak 2009 distribution ceremony at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city.
The premier also called on all men to safeguard women's rights, which are still infringed with impunity in many cases.
"A girl or a woman being oppressed is your mother, sister or wife. Then why they are being oppressed and repressed?" she posed a question.
Two veteran educationalists and philanthropists -- Razia Hossain and Mamtaz Hossen - were awarded with Begum Rokeya Padak 2009 for their outstanding contribution to women empowerment.
She said the government will again enforce the Women Development Policy formulated during the tenure of the last Awami League government.
The prime minister noted with concern that still women even in the urban areas are being victimised through early marriage, dowry, trafficking and acid violence.
She was also critical of oppression on women on religious grounds, reminding that women have been given the top-most place in holy religion Islam.
"Hazrat Khadiza (Ra), a woman, was the first person to accept Islam as a religion. Sumaiya (Ra), another woman, was the first person who sacrificed her life for Islam," she said.
Hasina said the dreams and aspirations of Begum Rokeya are yet to be fulfilled even in the present era of development and prosperity.
She said Begum Rokeya passed away many years ago, but the lessons and principles taught by her are still applicable for building up a balanced, oppression-free society.
"Education, empowerment and self-reliance are considered globally as the three main conditions for women's development," observed Hasina.
She noted that after many years, Bangladesh is walking the path shown by Begum Rokeya as women are now everywhere -- offices, courts, mills and factories, fields and farms, trade and commerce.
In a country like Bangladesh, the prime minister, opposition leader, Deputy Leader of the House, home minister, foreign minister, agriculture minister, labour minister, and women and child affairs minister, are all women, she said.
"If Begum Rokeya had not shown us the path, we might not attain such bright reality," she told the function.
Women and Children Affairs Ministry and other ministries concerned have been given necessary directives to ensure quality education, health services, socioeconomic security, gender equity and stopping violence against women for women's development and empowerment.
Sheikh Hasina congratulated the two women who won Begum Rokeya Padak 2009 and hoped their works will inspire the new generation to work for women empowerment.
With State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Dr Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury in the chair, the function was also addressed by the ministry's secretary Rokeya Sultana.
Later, children from various cultural groups presented a cultural function.
Razia Hossain was born on January 2, 1938 in an aristocratic Muslim family in Kishoreganj. She passed her Master of Arts examination from Dhaka University. In 1967, she was awarded the Star of Pakistan, which she declined in 1971 during the liberation war.
She also won various awards for her tremendous efforts for women empowerment and outstanding contribution to the field of literature.
Another winner, Mamtaz Hossen, was born on March 28 in 1940 in Rangamati. She did her honours from Dhaka University in 1965 and masters from the same university in 1976.
Apart from writing for children, Mamtaz Hossen is presently teaching 30 children involved in domestic services at her home.

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