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Sharing Meeting on Empowering Women through Reserved Seats in the Parliament: Fight or Flight Response?

Khan Foundation (KF) has been working on an extensive nationwide research program focused on womens empowerment in the political domain and arranged a seminar focusing on the findings of a forthcoming research paper entitled, \'Empowering Women through Reserved Seats in the Parliament: Fight or Flight Response?\' from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm on Wednesday the 23rd of October 2013 at The Westin, Dhaka. Khan Foundation is working on the political empowerment of women since its inception in 1988 through various approaches includes hands on in-house and outreach training programs to enable women to become instrumental as well as integral in the decision making process in the national and local level policy formulation. Consequently, khan Foundation felt the need to address the long-standing debate on the impact of reserved seats in the Parliament in promoting womens empowerment in the political arena by undertaking an in-depth research to provide some concrete and pragmatic arguments for and against the concept of empowerment through exclusion. The study is focused on determining whether reserve seats serve as a channel in elevating the role of women in politics, or, on the contrary, work as an impediment to gender equality leading to exclusion in the political sphere. In light of the upcoming general elections, the timing for presenting the findings of such a study seemed relevant and consequently Khan Foundation was keen to put forth our recommendations based on the study for everyone to review. Robert Gibson, High Commissioner of United Kingdom; Mr. Lee Yun Young, Ambassador of Republic of Korea in Bangladesh; Hafiz Uddin Mojumder, Honorable Minister of Parliament; Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, Former Minister of Government of Bangladesh; Advocate Rokhsana Khondker, Executive Director of Khan Foundation; Shakhawat Hossain, Former Chief Election Commissioner were present in the seminar. The civil society representatives, academicians, foreign delegates and representatives of specified sectors were also present in the seminar. Advocate Rokhsana Khondker presented the main paper of the study. After the presentation the floor has been opened to all for discussion. The guests and the speakers of the seminar generated their recommendation regarding the study. Most of the speakers argued for direct election for women representatives and emphasized on more party nomination for women. The idea came out from the seminar that, women are playing ornamental role in the parliament till now which is not accelerating women political empowerment rather obstructing this. Former organizing secretary of Awami League Mr. M Manna said that the Reserved Seat is working behind the women empowerment. He also provided his opinion that women are not strong enough politically to fight against men till now. Argument stands against his opinion that Reserved Seat is not helping women to be empowered politically. Executive Director of Democracy Watch, Ms. Taleye Rehman argued women are strong and capable as parallel as men and women eligible to keep state with men if they get equal opportunities. Mr. Hafiz Uddin Mojumder, Honerable Memember of Parliament said that6 women are empowering gradually. He emphasized on direct election for bringing women to electoral politics as introduced in local level political structure. Shama Obayed supposed that political parties can play the pivotal role to make women politically empowered. Dr. Najmunnesa Mahtab agreed with Shama Obayed. Nelofar Chowdhury Moni (MP) said that women are politically empowering gradually but it will be ensured when the male dominated society will changed with views. Ranjan Kramaker from STEPS and Munira Khan from FEMA suggested for 100 Reserved Seat. Ranjan Karmaker emphasized on direct election ion Reserved Seat while Muniar Khan argued reversely. Jerin Khan (former women MP) shared her practical experience with the participants. Jerin Khan and other women representatives strongly claimed for constitutional power practice for them. The British High Commissioner Robert Gibson said that United Kingdom is working for women development globally. He also said that women empowerment can ensure democracy. Gibson invited political parties to come forward in this issue. The Executive Director of Khan Foundation Rokhsana Khondkar recommended that political parties should give more nomination to women in general seat in a considerable rate comparing to male.
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Sharing Meeting on Empowering Women through Reserved Seats in the Parliament: Fight or Flight Response? Details

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