Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday stressed on the need for having more women in decision-making leadership for an effective solution to the world’s crises.
“Women are disproportionately affected during crises. It is, therefore, important to integrate women in decision-making for finding an effective solution to the crises,” she said.
The prime minister was addressing a high-level meeting of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders Convened by the President of the General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi at the Trusteeship Council in the United Nations Headquarters.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today’s Interlinked Challenges.”
Sheikh Hasina said women are shining in each and every sector, breaking all the stereotyping and showing indomitable courage and leadership skills.
She said it is high time to utilise the network (UNGA Platform of Women Leaders) to share views on tackling the complex global challenges and bring positive outcomes not only for our respective countries but also for mankind.
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From Bangladesh’s point of view, the PM said, “We look forward to continue participating in the UN’s efforts to encourage women leadership globally.”
In this regard, she highlighted three points: localising the Advisory Board on Gender Equality, nurturing and supporting the Women-led civil society organisations with sufficient political and financial means and convening a Leaders’ Summit to reinforce common agenda for gender equality.
Raising the first point, she commended the President for founding the Advisory Board on Gender Equality. “This now needs to be localised. We need gender champions at all levels, especially at the grass-root level, and we can lead by example,” she said.
Secondly, she said the women-led civil society organizations need to be nurtured and supported with sufficient political and financial means. “The UN has an important role in supporting such efforts,” said Hasina.
On the final issue, she invited the President to convene a Leaders’ Summit to reinforce the common agenda for gender equality. “All leaders – not just us - should join and present concrete commitments for advancing gender equality and women empowerment,” she said.
Talking about Bangladesh, Hasina said the government has taken various steps to empower women and girls; to secure their legal protections and create new ways for them to attain financial freedom.
In this regard, she said Bangladesh substantially achieved Goal three of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by ensuring gender parity in primary and secondary education.
“We are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender equality and empowering women,” said the PM.
About 27 per cent of the national budget is allocated for women’s social and economic empowerment activities, he cited.
In the political spectrum, she said, “Bangladesh has ensured representation of women in all levels, from the top to the lowest tier of government. We are bringing our women to the forefront of all economic activities.”
Read: Bangladeshi children to be raised as global citizens: Hasina
Noting that encouraging women entrepreneurship is a key policy goal of her government, she said, “We have taken specific policy actions, such as, fostering a gender-neutral legal framework for business ensuring equal access to finance for female and male entrepreneurs.”
Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh central bank is providing collateral-free loans up to Taka 2.5 million to the women entrepreneurs.
She mentioned that 15 per cent funds of the refinancing scheme, 10 percent industrial plots and 10 percent small entrepreneur funds are allocated for women.
“Every bank and non-bank financial institutions have dedicated desks for women entrepreneurs,” she said.
She also said that over four million women are employed in the readymade garments industry.
Some 35 per cent of our women have their bank accounts. Women’s contribution to the GDP growth is 34 per cent, she said.
“We aim at ensuring 40 per cent participation of women in every sector by 2021 and 50 per cent by 2030,” hoped.