Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Zillur Rahman confirmed Bangladesh's commitment to achieving gender equality at all levels through effective policies and programmes, reports UNB. The minister was speaking on "Gender Equality in Governance" at the International Conference on Governance for Sustainable Growth and Equity at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, according to a message received in the city yesterday. Gender equality is a priority area of policy making and programme intervention of the government, the minister informed the conference. "The Bangladesh government has adopted the policy for women's development, for the promotion of women's rights in all spheres of national life," he said.
Zillur pointed out that the main goals of Bangladesh's policy are to ensure human rights including women's rights, eradication of discrimination against girl children, prevention of violence against women, promotion of female education, equal participation of women in economic uplift programmes, alleviation of poverty of women and empowering women economically and politically. Referring to the necessary mechanism set in place for women's advancement and empowerment, the minister said that Bangladesh was one of the first countries in the world to form a separate ministry of women and children affairs to work for women's development.
There is another apex body closely involved in women's development, called the Jatiya Mohila Sangstha, he added. The minister outlined the number of constitutional and policy measures which have been taken, including a quota system for women in the public service and reservation of 30 per cent seats for women in the national parliament. Zillur also said similarly the constitution has provided reserved seats in all municipal and local governments. Explaining the experiment of Bangladesh in the field of women's access to credit and poverty alleviation, the minister noted that this model could be incorporated in the programmes of the UN system and other international organisations.
In view of the positive impact of globalisation in gender equality in governance, he underscored the need for commitment, at the highest level, to mainstream a gender perspective into all policies and programmes. He also pointed out that Bangladesh believes that mainstreaming must be institutionalised at all levels in the UN system. In this regard, Zillur hoped that the international financial institutions would provide support to the efforts of national governments and the UN systems for achieving gender equality in all spheres of life.