BANGLADESH WANTS GENDER EQUALITY A ‘STAND-ALONE’ POST-MDGS GOAL
Nurul Islam Hasib from Bangkok, bdnews24.com
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki made the call on Wednesday while speaking at the ‘Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 review’ at UN regional headquarters in Bangkok.
The conference began ahead of next year’s 20-year celebration of the adoption of the global agenda for gender equality –the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to two-thirds of world’s population, including nearly two-thirds of the world’s poor.
Violence against women is widespread here.
Chumki presented Bangladesh’s progress and challenges in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment before the Asia-Pacific member states.
She said Bangladesh came a long way based on the 1997 women development policy that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had devised.
“We have already broken many glass ceilings,” she said giving examples of woman participation in judiciary, vice-chancellors, armed and police services, highest administrative and diplomatic assignments including the first woman permanent representative to the UNESCAP.
She mentioned the name of the newly appointed ambassador to Thailand who is also a woman, Saida Muna Tasneem.
“Holding our flag high, Bangladesh sent the first ever all-women-police-unit to UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti and DR Congo,” she said.
She said Bangladesh today perhaps the only country in the world that can boast of women Prime Minister, Speaker in the parliament, Leader of the Opposition, and Deputy Leader of the House.
“Bangladesh’s gender-ratings remain higher than many comparable countries of the region,” she said.
However, she said Bangladesh remained “conscious” of national and global challenges in sustained implementation of the Beijing commitment.
Violence against women, child marriage, women trafficking, rights of women migrants, and climate change impacts would continue to remain Bangladesh’s priority focus, she said.
And to pursue those target, she said, Bangladesh’s conviction in democracy, secularism and countering extremist forces would remain the “biggest strength”.
She thanked the UNESCAP for organising the conference that offered the member states of the region to talk before the expiry of MDGs in 2015.
“Let us raise a strong Asia-Pacific voice to champion greater regional cooperation and partnerships for our women, including ‘gender equality and women’s empowerment’ as a stand-alone and cross-cutting goal across the post-2015 development agenda”.
The conference is expected to adopt a declaration at the end on Thursday which will be placed along with other UN regions in next March’s global review meeting.
The global report will be placed in the September UN General Assembly when world will embrace a new set of development goals for the next 15 years.
UN Under Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka earlier called upon countries to work together to make 2030 “an expiry date for gender inequality”
NOVEMBER 19, 2014