Bangladesh Mahila Parishad's vanguard role in the struggle for women's human rights and its related initiatives in this area, which originated in the 1970s under the leadership of Poet Sufia Kamal, deserves to be recognized. Over four decades, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad has been at the forefront of the movement for establishing a democratic, secular, discrimination free society, inspired by the spirit of the liberation war. On the occasion of their 44th Founding Anniversary I congratulate and commend them for their commitment, courage and perseverance in the course of this ongoing struggle under difficult circumstances.
The women of Bangladesh have already established themselves as one of the strongest pillars of the national economy. Through the micro-credit system women have established their creditworthiness in the banking system as well as important sources of household income generation and savings. Correspondingly, women have become the main source of value addition in the dynamic garments sector. Women have also demonstrated their political maturity by coming out to vote in large numbers whenever they have been presented with the opportunity to freely exercise their choice.
We have reached a stage where women's right to political representation in parliament through direct elections, to equality before the law including the right to property, to gender justice in the work place as well widening of opportunities that vest them with equity rights in enterprises where they work, to safety and security, remain part of the unfinished agenda of the women's movement. All of us look to Bangladesh Mahila Parishad to play a leading role in bringing together all the principal groups as well as committed individuals, women and men, who are engaged in the struggle for gender justice to persevere with this struggle. It is only though such collective endeavours that sufficient strength can be mobilized to eradicate all forms of injustice against women.
The writer is Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue.