Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the women to move forward breaking all the social barriers — big or small — taking the path guided by Begum Rokeya, a pioneer of women rights.
“Once you can move forward breaking through this stalemate, there’ll be no more obstacles. And in our Islam, girls have been given rights…. equal rights (for men and women) are there.Even then, such obstacles come and will come in our country.But we’ve to overcome these obstacles and move forward,” she said, reports UNB.
The Prime Minister was addressing the Begum Rokeya Padak-2021 awarding ceremony and celebration of Begum Rokeya Day-2021, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
The Women and Children Affairs Ministry arranged the programme at the city’s Osmani Smriti Auditorium, marking the 141th birth and the 89th death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, the pioneer of women’s rights in this subcontinent.
Describing Begum Rokeya as a model for women, the Prime Minister said, “Hadn’t she lit the light of education by breaking the social stalemate (for women), we wouldn’t have been able to go forward so far today. She had shown us the path. She had made us move forward on the path of light.”
Sheikh Hasina said her government has largely been able to fulfil the dream of Begum Rokeya.
She, however, said the thing that hurts her most is violence against women. Though the government enacted laws against rape, women repression and domestic violence, it is essential to change the mindset of men to stop violence against women, she said.
“We’ve to change the mentality and bring changes in our minds. Here trust is the most important thing. We’ve to believe that women are not just objects of enjoyment, women are co-fighters and co-partners, and they have to move forward equally and be given equal rights,” she said.
Five eminent women personalities were honoured with the prestigious Begum Rokeya Padak-2021 for their outstanding contributions to women empowerment and social development.
On behalf of the Prime Minister, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira handed over the medals and certificates to the recipients and their relatives.
The recipients are Prof Hasina Zakaria Bela, Archana Biswas, Shamsunnahar Rahman Paran (posthumous), Dr Zinat Huda and Dr Saria Sultana.
Prof Hasina Zakaria Bela also spoke at the function conducted by Women and Children Affairs Secretary Sayedul Islam.
Spelling out the government’s measures taken for women empowerment, the Prime Minister said she had taken some steps for women’s economic freedom after forming the government in 1996.
She said her government made women education free and kept 60 percent posts of teachers reserved in primary schools for women. Following the steps, many parents did not prevent their girls from continuing their education, she said.
When the government introduced women’s football in the country, it faced many obstacles, the PM said.
Hasina said now women have been given the scope to join every sector, including judiciary, Army, Naval Force, Air Force and BGB.
She said the female officers of Bangladesh Army, Air Force and Police are doing very well in UN peacekeeping missions. So, the demand for Bangladeshi women is high in UN peacekeeping missions, she added.
“Our girls are now working in many risky places. They’re also operating fighter planes. So, Girls are no longer lagging behind in any area. The biggest thing is that women can do better than men in some cases,” she said.
Hasina urged all to pray for her daughter Saima Wazed Putul, a globally renowned autism activist, on her birthday (Dec 09).