GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT

Women constitute almost half of the total population unfortunately; their accesses to each empowering sphere of life have been denied. Since time immemorial, it has rather become customary if not mandatory that women would have to sacrifice their claim from everything whenever the occasion calls for it.

At the present, a day the grave situation is improving. The women folk are now setting their firm and confident footsteps at every occupation. Politics is no different. But like any other incumbents, women are facing the inertia as a new entrant into this aspect of activities. Owing to different social, religious and cultural impediments, women have historically been politically and economically marginalized and effectively precluded from participating in political life. This problem is reflected in the under-representation of women in the leadership of governing institutions and political parties.

Bangladesh has achieved its precious independence after profuse bloodsheds for months. After almost 42 years of independence, women still have frugal and limited access to politics. During the first 40 years, 10% of the total seats of the parliaments used to be occupied by women MPs through indirect election by the Electoral College. But this was not the proper way to ensure effective participation of women in the parliaments. Because of this, the eligible women were deprived of their right to represent the people. This in a way also made the people, as a whole, under-represented in the parliament, which was detrimental to the interest of the nation. This 10% reservation continued for about 40 years. Presently the government has passed the legislation that the reserved seats for women will be increased to 20% from 15% of the total 300 seats (that is 5o in number).

The reserved seats provisions for women were formulated in 1972 when the first constitution of the country was written about 41 years ago. Back then; this was the demand of time to ensure the participation of women in the national parliament. This system seemed to be plausible as the country was newly liberated and political parties feared that women would not win against their male counterparts if they were nominated to contest from general seats. This provision was a temporary feature and would continue for the next five years. After that period was over, the number of the seats was increased along with the enhancement of period to 10 years. This has continued till date but failed to increase the participation of women in the national parliament. They still play ornamental role in the reserved seats. The evaluation of the past elections shows that the political parties do not nominate women leaders to contest from the general seats with the male counterparts because the parties fear that they would fail. This is the height of injustice in the sense that the parties have not nominated them so that they could participate in the general elections. The parties confine them to the reserved seats only showing a nude disclosure of gender disparity.

Ever since, independence the system of reserved seats has not improved women participation in the national parliament rather than secluded them by converting them into mere paper tigers. Therefore, the present legislation of reserving 50 seats for women is not proper to ensure women participation. This has also been practiced at the local level but the women members and chairmen are being discriminated and mocked at by the male members and chairmen. The elected women representatives are not being treated in equality with their male counterparts even though their work area is thrice as big as that of a male. Therefore, the foundation believes in giving a certain percentage of nomination to women by every political party.

“Gender Mainstreaming Programme for the Empowerment of Coastal Fishing Communities”

On basis on an agreement between FAO and Khan Foundation under the project: BGD/97/017, Khan Foundation is working on “Gender Mainstreaming Programme for the Empowerment of Coastal Fishing Communities” in Cox’s Bazar.

Goal

Goal of the program is to establish oppression free (by male) and gender Sensitive Society.

Objective of the project

Objectives of the Gender Mainstreaming Program of the “Empowerment of Coastal Fishing Communities Project” are-

  1. To increase the awareness of the fishing community members including women on gender discrimination.
  2. To sensitize community leader and activists on gender equality.
  3. To reinforce leadership skills and confidence of women members of the community so that they can take part in decision-making and development activities
  4. To establish a oppression free and gender balanced society.
  5. To change the mind-set of the community people as well as that of the society towards women.

Objectives of the Gender Mainstreaming Program of the “Empowerment of Coastal Fishing Communities Project” are-

  1. Need Assessment for developing manual.
  2. Manual Development (two Manuals will be develop).
  3. One TOT
  4. Five training for Community leaders.
  5. Gender awareness training.
  6. Follow up meeting.
  7. Report writing.


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