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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

A hallmark of women empowerment

Published : Saturday, 2 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 742
Farhana Naznin

A hallmark of women empowerment

A hallmark of women empowerment

Bangladesh has achieved remarkable successes in attaining women empowerment under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sheikh Hasina has recognized that the future of the nation depends largely on the empowerment of women relating to the demand of time, and one of her prime objectives is women's overall development by ensuring their equal and active participation in mainstream socio-economic and political activities. Additionally, her government has initiated necessary policy directives, numerous programs and projects for the development of women.
The time equal to Sheikh Hasina's 75th birthday brings back into our mind of her glorious success and majestic leadership capabilities.  
Sheikh Hasina was born on 28 September 1947 at village Tungipara of Gopalganj under the then district Faridpur in a renowned but splendent sheikh family . She is the eldest of five children of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of independent Bangladesh.
She has been serving as the Prime Minister of People's Republic of Bangladesh since January 2009. She previously served as Prime Minister of the country from June 1996 to July 2001. She is the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Bangladesh, having served for a combined total of over 17 years in stride.
The unimpeded pace of women empowerment has been attaining greater progress under the governance of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who has widened the door for the females towards proving their worth as an equal force in larger numbers in all key areas of the country. Now, women are better educated, safer, and more sound economically than their preceding generations.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has shown exceptional leadership skills in home and abroad regarding the issue of women empowerment and below are some glimpses of her success story.   
Economic Measures
Women's economic participation is regarded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government as fundamental to strengthening their rights and enabling them to have control over their lives. It has been encouraging female participation in the workforce, bringing millions of women into the labour force and increasing women's participation leading to increased productivity and economic growth. To expedite women's economic empowerment, comprehensive initiatives have been undertaken by providing extensive training, creating job opportunities, ensuring participation in the labour market and providing support to small and medium women entrepreneurs.
Moreover, the government of Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has been implementing various programmes for creating employment and welfare for the rural destitute and insolvent women under its revenue and development budget under her guidance.
Rural women are receiving a four-month training on various trades, including tailoring, tourism, handicraft, mushroom growing, carpet making, salesmanship, mobile phone repairing, and computer handling.
Currently, about 4 million women are working in the Ready-made Garment sector (RMG). Working conditions in the garment industry have significantly improved, thanks to widespread and stringent measures taken by Sheikh Hasina's government.
Inclusion in Education
In the past decade under Sheikh Hasina's leadership, Bangladesh has gained unprecedented success in girl's education. To empower women, the current government has attached top priority to girls' education. In that period, coverage of stipend programs for girls has been extended manifold and this strategy resulted in an almost 100 per cent enrollment rate and gender parity. Education of girls up to degree level in public schools is also free. Gender parity is achieved in primary and secondary education. Females are also encouraged to take teaching as a profession and currently, 60 per cent of primary school teachers are women.
Improved Health Service
Bangladesh made 'enormous' health advances in the last decade. Sheikh Hasina's government has built a heath infrastructure enabling people particularly Women and girls at the grassroots to avail themselves of health care free of cost. Fertility declines and increased uptake of maternal and reproductive services over the past two decades, especially antenatal and post-natal care, skilled birth attendance, and facility deliveries, have contributed to the reduction of neonatal deaths.
During Sheikh Hasina's first tenure at the office, she introduced Maternal Health Voucher Scheme. Maternal Health Voucher Schemes provides a voucher package of three ante-natal checkups, safe delivery under skilled birth attendants, one post-natal checkup and transport cost. Currently .15 million women are receiving support under this scheme. Steps have been taken for delivery of primary healthcare services through community clinics to rural, marginal and vulnerable women. Rural, marginal and vulnerable women now get primary healthcare services at the 18,500 Community Clinics (CCs). The current government plans to reduce MMR to 63 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
Moreover, another 13,000 maternity centers are established across the country which has been providing service and advice to disadvantaged women on education, healthcare, nutrition, maternal and child care, and interest free microcredit. Sheikh Hasina led government has extended social safety net to bring disadvantaged women under health coverage. Due to some effective legislative measures, women now get six months of paid maternity leave.
Political Empowerment
Bangladesh received loud appreciation at home and abroad for astonishing success in promoting mows in the political field. In 2011, Sheikh Hasina's government increased the number of women reserve seats to 50 from 45. Presently, the current Bangladesh Parliament has 70 women members, which is 20 Percent at a total of 350 seats. Women member was 12.7 per cent in 1990. Bangladesh is the only country in South Asia that has a woman prime minister and leader of the House, woman leader of the opposition, woman speaker and deputy leader at the house. Bangladesh won the Women in Parliament (WIP) Award for regional leadership in the South and Southeast Asia category for the closing gap in politics.
The Local Government Second Amendment Act 1997 passed by PM Hasina-led government is seen as a milestone towards ensuring women's equal access and increased participation in local level governance. This amendment provided direct elections to reserved seats for women in local level elections. Her government has introduced a post of female vice-chairman for each Upazila (sud-division) bringing an amendment to Upazila Parisad Act.
Women in Civil Administration
In the past decade of Sheikh Hasina's government , increased participation of women in visible and they are in different tiers of the civil administration and more than 1,100 women are now working in the civil service, where women are playing the role as Deputy Commissioner (DC), Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) at the district level administrative unit. Currently 10 women are acting as Secretary at different ministries. Number of women employees in government jobs increased, top positions of administration, i.e. Secretaries, Additional Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Deputy Commissioners, top positions of police, armed forces and UN peacekeepers, are all indicators of advancing women's empowerment.
Increased Participation in Sports
In recent years, Bangladesh has got acclamation for women's participation and success in different sports i.e., athletics, swimming, shooting, etc. Sports associations offer incentives and special training to women participants. The women cricket team earned their place in cricket history by bringing Bangladesh's first international trophy namely the Women's T20 Asia Cup in 2018. The women's Under 16 football team recently qualified for the Asian Football Confederation Championship.
Measures to Prevent Violence Against Women
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government have been strengthening the country's policies and legislative framework to ensure women's rights and combat violence against women. Her government first initiated the concept of a gender-responsive budget in the 2009-10 fiscal year. Forty-three ministries adopted a gender-responsive budget in 2011-12. The government passed the Domestic Violence "mention and Protection) Act 2010, which mas the first recognition of the problem of domestic violence in Bangladesh by the State. Lager in 2013, The Domestic Violence 'Prevention and Protection) Rules were passed for ensuring proper implementation of the act. Child Marriage Control Act, 2013, the latest amendment to this act has been approved by her Cabinet which provides for strict punishments for the marriage of girls below the age of 18. Her government has also enacted the Human Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act 2012. This Act complying with the international standards stressed the protection of the rights of the victims of human trafficking and ensuring safe migration. A National Helpline Center for violence against children and women has been established to provide support to women and their families. Women can get necessary information and support by calling the 24-hour Helpline Number 109. Another call centre 333 also provide service in cases of eve-teasing, early marriage, dowry-related incidents. One-Stop Crisis Centre operates in 8 medical college hospitals to give medical, legal and police assistance to women victims of violence. There is also a Trauma Counseling Centre.
Measures for Social Inclusion
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government has taken several initiatives for those women who are in need of financial and other types of assistance under the social safety net schemes.
In the present decade, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in educating women and empowering them in the health sector and in the political arena. The government, in association with policy partners, the civil society and rights groups, continues to promote gender equality and empowerment. Today, women in Bangladesh are encouraged to make legal rights claims, compete for elected office, access information and technology and strive for sports and community leadership roles. Strong implementation of the National Women Development Policy has been making sure that women are entitled to equal opportunities in every sphere. The government is now looking to further prioritize women in the labor market with an aim to increase significantly their participation in the mainstream workforce, thus expanding the space for them to contribute towards building a sustainable future. Under the visionary leadership of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has come a long way in achieving the 2030 agenda of gender equity for Sustainable Development.
Curator, Father of The Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum and Former Private Secretary to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina , Nazrul Islam Khan said, "Her good luck that she is born  and brought up  in a political family which helped her to inherit the  leadership quality."
He added that under her leadership, Bangladesh has become a role model for development achieving  steady economic growth, becoming self-sufficient in food and attaining a marked progress in the fields of women empowerment, agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, communication, energy and power, trade and commerce, ICT and the SME sectors etc.
Nazrul stated that, "Our Prime Minister is a hallmark of positive women leadership. Her current Private Secretary is a woman. She feels happy when women take political leadership in her party, take charge in administration, Armed forces and police force and in other sectors."    
The veteran curator said, "Women can do any creative work but they need self confidence. I never saw her lose confidence in an adverse situation."
 He added that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been accorded various honorary degrees, accolades and awards in recognition of her contribution to matchless leadership. Her most recent role in providing humanitarian support to Rohingyas drew worldwide accolades. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been recently awarded the SDG Progress Award at the Ninth Annual International Conference of the United Nations Sustainable Development solutions network in New York.














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