Bangladesh has sought greater support from the international community in its endeavour to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those related to women and girls, within the stipulated timeframe.
Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury said, “We reiterate our commitment to make a more balanced world to make a better world; a more gender-balanced world.”
Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury made the remark while addressing the general debate of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women held at UN headquarters on Wednesday.
He informed the session that Bangladesh has achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education. “In fact, girls have outnumbered boys in secondary schools. Targeted measures such as stipend for girls from the Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Fund, exemption of tuition fees, among others, have made it possible,” he said.
The deputy minister said they believe there is much room for improvement.
“Limitations in financing and capacity building and emerging global phenomena like climate change, trafficking, terrorism and violent extremism as well as the emerging issues and trends like the fourth industrial revolution are creating considerable difficulties for national governments to achieve SDGs including those related to women and girls,” he said.
Chowdhury said forced displacement of 1.2 million Rohingyas into Bangladesh from Myanmar’s Rakhine state is a huge challenge for Bangladesh. Most of the refugees are women and children.
He reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment to the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the goals and targets under Agenda 2030 related to women and girls.
Bangladesh would be taking up the membership of the CSW for the term 2019-2023, according to Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN.
The country has the South Asian countries in gender equality for the last three consecutive years, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index. “We’re now into the top five in the WEF global index on the Political Empowerment sub-index,” he said.
Chowdhury said Bangladesh is making gender-responsive investment across the board including the three areas of this year’s priority theme.
“Our objective is to achieve comprehensive empowerment of our women addressing their economic, political as well as social aspects. Accordingly, we are working relentlessly to provide policy guidelines, social protection systems and need-based services and making strategic interventions,” he said.
Currently 30 percent of total budgetary allocation is dedicated for women development in Bangladesh.
Women’s financial inclusion is another focus area, he said, adding that they are working to ensure their equal wage, facilitating women entrepreneurs with separate banking and marketing systems and building women’s entrepreneurial capacity through greater access to finance.
“Thirty-five percent of women in Bangladesh hold a bank account, which is above the regional average for South Asia,” he said, adding that the social safety net programme and its coverage and funding, largely targeting women, have increased manifold in recent years.