Increased collaboration between ministries and data-based monitoring of expenditures are required for a better implementation of gender budget, said discussants at a pre-budget dialogue on Monday.
Ahead of the national budget, Plan International Bangladesh and Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the dialogue titled “National Budget Addressing Gender Based Violence” at Pragati Insurance Building, Karwanbazar in Dhaka.
The discussants said, women’s development is at the core of the overall development plan of Bangladesh. In the national budget, the gender budget is allocated for a number of ministries.
Collective data on the specific expenditure of the ministries preventing child marriage and violence and proper monitoring will play an effective role in reducing gender-based violence through further planning.
Nadia Nawrin, Programme Associate, CPD made an introductory presentation at the programme on “Budget Framework Analysis on Challenging Fear of Violence”, a recent report produced by Plan International Bangladesh and CPD.
While presenting the analysis, she said that Bangladesh has made significant progress on several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This progress is also evident in SDG 5 on gender equality and women's empowerment. Despite Bangladesh's remarkable economic progress, violence against women is still widespread and unstoppable, said the paper.
In addition, other factors remain: lack of adequacy, monitoring and reporting mechanism and lastly, the relevant budget does not address fear of violence.
The analysis recommends that in order to address and eliminate the fear of violence among girls and women, the current gender budget framework has to be redesigned.
Awami League MP Aroma Dutta said, the government prioritises gender budget. There are 36 ministries under which gender budget is allocated.
But, for monitoring its proper implementation, “we must ensure collective data on the expenditure. This will also support addressing the challenges of the existing laws and acts against gender-based violence.”
The MP also urged a greater campaign against gender-based violence.
Girls’ Rights Director of Plan International Bangladesh, Kashfia Feroz, said, the fear of violence exists everywhere- from home to public space.
In a recent survey of Plan International Bangladesh, we have found that, 35% of the survey participants believe sexual harassment is one main reason behind child marriage, while 25.6% believe parents marry their daughter off at a young age due to fear of violence. 62% parents shared that they fear to send their daughters to school picnic while 54.1% fathers fear sending their daughters to private tutors due to the same fear.
Executive Director of CPD, Fahmida Khatun, said, fear is an intangible thing which makes it difficult to reflect in the budget. Fear is increasing everywhere in the world. This impacts not only the individuals but the entire society and the state affecting the economy.
She also called for ensuring budget allocation to ensure strengthened implementation of existing laws and acts preventing gender-based violence.
Among others, Shima Moslem, General Joint General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Dr. Tania Haque. (Professor). Department of Women and Gender Studies of the University of Dhaka, Nobonita Chowdhury Director of Gender, Justice and Diversity (GJD) at BRAC, Sharmind Neelormi, Associate Professor of Economics Department of Jahangirnagar University were present as discussants.