Archive for the ‘Women Rights’ Category

Torture victim support centre for women, children opens

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 16, 2009 in Women Rights

A ‘Victim Support Centre’ has been established to provide all kinds of legal support to women and children who are victim of repression or harassment.

Bangladesh Police and 10 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have partnered in establishing the specialized centre in Tejgaon thana compound with assistance from the donor-aided Police Reform Programme. (বিস্তারিত…)


Grim battle for a decent life

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 13, 2009 in Women Rights

Life for women in the country seems to be really tough. Overworked and under-appreciated, most of them fight an uphill battle to survive. Those who work outside their homes get little sympathy from the boss and virtually no help from their husbands.

All governments promised political and social equality for the sexes, but women are still victimised. Despite the societal improvements that have come about, incidences of sexual harassment and assault on women are taking place. Economic compulsion and fear for their reputation and social stigma drive most women to silence. (বিস্তারিত…)

Empowerment of Women With Disabilities

Posted: ফেব্রুয়ারি 6, 2009 in Women Rights

Bangladesh is a developing country in the world where the majority of people live in the villages in poverty. The population stands at 5 million people. According to a data of World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of the people are with some types of disabilities in Bangladesh. Of this disabled people, 50% are disabled women.

They are traditionally neglected and discriminated in family and society. Women with disabilities (WWDs) are neglected both by the government and the NGOs though our government is signatory to instruments that promise development of women with disabilities.

The Ministry of Social Welfare is responsible for developing women with disabilities instead of Women and Children Affairs Ministry in our Country. There are many highly qualified women with disabilities but they do not get jobs for the lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

In the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities the rights of disabled women are clearly mentioned:

Article:-6 (1). State Parties recognize that women and girls with disabilities are subject to multiple discrimination and in this regard shall take measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by them of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Aritcle:-6 (2). State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement and empowerment of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the present Convention.

Most of the Women with Disabilities (WWDs) is not educated. They are burdens on their family, society and state for the lack of opportunity and co-operation.

If they get opportunities for training on income generating activities (IGA), they will be able to earn a living and be productive in society.

The daily star 06.02.2009


Women drivers gear up

Posted: জানুয়ারি 28, 2009 in Women Rights

The age-old stereotype about “dangerous” women drivers is shattered and more and more women now take to the road.

Many have taken up driving as a profession and are ready to face oddities head-on.

“By nature, women drivers are more caring about their job and they put their hearts to their job,” says AKM Ahmedul Hoq, general manager of the Transport Service Department of Care Bangladesh.

“It was not the norm to hire women drivers before — for homes or organisations.”

Women drivers for Care drive sedans, three-tonne vehicles, pickups and microbuses. They work for offices both in the city and the districts of Chittagong, Sylhet, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Tangail and Sunamganj.

Ahmedul says women drivers are generally more law-abiding than their male counterparts. Secure and honest.

Vehicle owners feel more at peace with women drivers because most do not demonstrate risk-taking behaviour.

Care, a nongovernmental organisation, started training women drivers in 2003 to support the socially and economically vulnerable women in society. The organisation has since trained up to 46 women and employed 22 within Care itself. Ten more women are appointed by BRAC, another nongovernmental organisation.

Despite motivational efforts, women drivers have not yet been appointed for private home use, says the official.

Businessman Shahidul Islam says: “I cannot employ a woman driver because of social stigmas associated with the matter.”

Farzana Shimu has been working as a driver for Care since 2006. She can efficiently drive four-wheelers in Kishoreganj and many other districts.

“Most people on the streets stare at me, seeing a woman driver at the wheels. Male drivers in new areas also try to annoy me by barring my way. Although people once discouraged me to drive, later they accepted the fact readily and now they pray for my travels,” Shimu says

Several international and nongovernmental organisations in the country believe women drivers are by and large reliable, disciplined, assertive but less prone to dishonesty than men.

Among all the drivers of Care, a woman was awarded the best driver title in 2007, on the basis of her approach to passengers, maintaining driving rules, a timely response to work and smartness,” says Ahmedul.

Mohammed Ashik Mia, a BRAC official, says the organisation employs women drivers as part of its women empowerment initiatives.

Women drivers have been working for the organisation for over a year. They drive light vehicles like pickups, microbuses and sedans. To ensure security, the organisation does not allow them to drive at night or on inter-district routes.

“BRAC vehicle users had initially hesitated to accept woman drivers on the busy roads of Dhaka, but later they started to feel that they are in safe hands,” Ashik Mia says.

“The performance of the female drivers are improving gradually and if we think the situation is favourable in future, we would allow them to undertake the inter-district journeys.”

Action Aid, another NGO, also employs women, who drive station wagons and sedans and work between 9:00am to 5:00pm. Sometimes they work overtime.

Men and women are equally paid here. “Our staff feel comfortable with women drivers,” says Husni Zannat, an administration officer for Action Aid.

The daily star 29.01.2009

Better lives for Bangladeshi women

Posted: জানুয়ারি 24, 2009 in Women Rights

BANGLADESH’S elections were a great achievement: free, fair and even festive, with a massive voter turnout. But, as I return to this remarkable country after four years, what sticks in my mind are the vivid images, flashed across our screens, of women queuing patiently to vote on that chilly December day. Of the 82 million Bangladeshis that were registered as voters, 41 million were women: hugely impressive for any country.

This was a powerful symbol of women’s advances in Bangladesh during the last 10 years. And there’s more. Birth rates have halved, the gender gap in infant mortality and education has narrowed or closed altogether; micro-credit has improved both the status of women and their earning potential. Large numbers are finding opportunities in garment factories.

To meet the potential of half a nation’s citizens, these are important steps. But this is a long staircase to climb. It’s a harder climb when, in Bangladesh one woman dies from childbirth every hour of every day; when girls in Bangladesh are five times more likely than boys to drop out of school at grade one. This potential is untapped while half of all women remain illiterate and women trail dismally in pay rates and property-ownership: one in five female-headed households in Bangladesh earns less than Tk 28 per person per day.

And the blight of violence against women grows uglier. That it is commonplace does not mean we can turn a blind eye. It’s perhaps the most widespread and tolerated denial of all human rights: scarcely credible that in the 21st century, among women aged 19-44 worldwide, domestic violence accounts for more death and ill-health than war, traffic accidents or cancer.

In the UK one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives. It claims the lives of two women in my country every week. And it costs those victims’ employers and the state in the UK billions of pounds a year.

In Bangladesh, fewer than half of all women report feeling safe going out alone, even in their own neighbourhood. And in a recent study more than half of women questioned in Dhaka reported at least one incidence of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Let us be in no doubt: the punching, the kicking, the raping, the isolating, the mocking and the killing that shames us all is the world’s most substantial and insidious brake on human development.

Change can come.

Last Wednesday I met survivors of acid violencea particularly appalling and horrifying crime. The Acid Survivers Foundation (ASF) is doing amazing and inspiring work providing support to thousands of women and children who have been victims. Equally important is tackling the causes and dealing with the perpetrators. Acid attacks have fallen significantly in recent years in Bangladesh as a result of the work of the ASF, supported by the media, the justice system and government leaders. Other gender problems can be tackled in the same way.

A democratic government with a convincing mandate can achieve a lot. Promoting women to prestigious positions and increasing the number of reserved seats in Parliament are important steps to raise the profile of women in Bangladesh. Delivering on the National Policy on Women’s Empowerment, approving the new Domestic Violence Bill and ensuring that victims of violence achieve fair justice and equal treatment will help women to realise their rights as human beings and citizens of this country.

But there’s more for us all. The British government will make better lives for women and girls a priority in our partnership with Bangladesh. Can Bangladeshi women expect that there are more changes for the better on their way?

Mark Lowcock is Director General, Country Programmes in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is responsible for DFID’s programmes in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Latin America. He visited Bangladesh for the fourth time, January 19-22.

The daiy star 25th january 2009


Women’s death from violence shots up in 3 SW dists

Posted: জানুয়ারি 13, 2009 in Women Rights

157 killed last year against 82 in 2007 in Kushtia, Meherpur and Chuadanga

At least 157 women were killed last year in three southwestern districts of Kushtia, Meherpur and Chuadanga due to violence against them against 82 in the previous year.

But most of the deaths were recorded with police as ‘abnormal deaths’ or ‘suicide’. Torture that led to death or suicide were not mentioned in police records, sources in NGO’s working for women’s rights and development said.

Many more incidents remained unrecorded with police as relatives of then victims avoided filing cases fearing retaliation by killers and apprehending alleged harassment by police, police sources in Kushtia said.

According to sources including police, newspapers reports and NGOs, most of the victims were housewives, killed in ‘torture’ allegedly by their husbands or family members. But the violence behind the deaths were not investigated.

“This was an abnormal rise,” some police officials in Kushtia said seeking anonymity.

The highest number of 103 killings took place in Kushtia, followed by 30 in Meherpur and 24 in Chuadanga. In the previous year also, highest number of 70 deaths took place in Kushtia.

In most of the incidents, demand for dowry was the main reason, the sources said.

In few cases, poverty was behind family feuds leading to torture by husbands.

“Violence on women was main cause that led either suicide or killing of women,” a doctor at Kushtia General Hospital said.

“The victims’ families also want to avoid unwanted trouble and harassment because in most cases, killers are protected by their influential patrons or section law enforcers,” said Hasan Ali, local representative of Dhaka based NGO ADHIKAR.

Contacted, several high police officials in the two other districts also shared the same view.

Kushtia Police Superintendent Mosleh Uddin however said, “The scenario will change as police have opened the door for victims and their families to lodge allegations without fear”. A separate desk is working at each police station to check violence against women, he said.

Graffiti on woman ban erased

Posted: জানুয়ারি 13, 2009 in Women Rights

After The Daily Star ran a report yesterday on a self-proclaimed Pir who put graffiti on a wall by a Pirojpur road, prohibiting movement of women on that road, Mathbaria police removed the writings and are hunting for the Pir.

Officer-in-charge of the Mathbaria Police Station Matiur Rahman erased the graffiti that read “Women are absolutely forbidden on this road” from Mathbaria Bara Masjid Road. They were also trying to arrest the so-called pir and former soldier Maulana Md Abdus Sattar, our Barisal correspondent reports.

Matiur Rahman told The Daily Star, “Following the report of The Daily Star we removed the sign and we will take legal actions against the self-declared pir who obstructed women’s movement on that road.”

He also said two policemen will be deployed on the road to help schoolgirls use the road. He said they will continue their search for Abdus Sattar.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) yesterday expressed deep concern over the banning of women on that road and demanded investigation into the matter and punishment of the people responsible.

The BNWLA in a press release said such kind of activity is an obstacle to women when they have been coming forward alongside men in every sphere.

The Daily Star on Tuesday published a report that a self-declared pir Maulana Md Abdus Sattar of Mathbaria, Pirojpur, banned the movement of women on Bara Masjid Road in Mathbaria.