Bangladeshi women’s participation in decision making process

8th March is the International Women’s Day, the day crosses its historical 100 years. But what are the major signs of progress we found in this century? Internationally women are suppressed in the men ruled society. They are respectfully treated as a daughter, sister, wife or mother. But they are not being taken into the decision-making process; because they are not financially solvent. Our society has given them the responsibility to work as housewife not as a homemaker. Although their major duties are spread over in every step of our life. They are doing everything but not recognized by society. Women’s participation in the decision-making process is a crucial demand of the time.

It was correctly felt by the national and rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. He recognized their contribution as “all the noble deeds of this world are made equally by men and women”. But men have got a social position, can lead the family and also in society, can participate in the decision-making process. But what honorific position the women got? If we look at the empowerment of women in our national parliament, what we see?

In 1972, a constitutional decision was taken to ensure women participation in the parliament, 15 reserve seats were allotted in the parliament for a term of 10 years. On 15 December 1978, these reserved seats were doubled in number, 30 seats allotted for 10 years. On 11 May 1988, the eight constitutional amendment bill was presented in the parliament and then this minimum reserve seat allotment was stopped. So it was really considered as a black decision for women’s empowerment.

However, On 12 June 1990, the tenth constitutional amendment bill was presented in the parliament and then again the allotment of 30 reserved seats started for 15 years. On 17 May 2004, after a long gap, Govt. made a law to ensure 45 women reserve seats for a term of 10 years. This is 2011, many well educated and qualified women are available in every field. They are also conscious enough. So, what would we like to do? Do we want to continue with an ornamental presence of women in our parliament by ensuring reserve seat?

Actually, we forget that more than 50% voter is women and their participation needs to be equal. I think this is the time to make the active competitive presence of women in the parliament. Now all political party needs to take the decision to ensure at least 25% women candidate in the next election. This may promote quick empowerment of qualified women.

Today we are thinking to ensure equal participation of women in education, training, science and technological sphere but not to the equal participation in the political position. If we do ensure their participation in the national level decision-making process; if they only remain in ornamental presence, what good can it bring? Our dream to empower women may be the hypocritical statement only. So this is the time for the politicians to prove that they are not two-faced, they actually want to achieve the third goal of MDG; empowering women.

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