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Dhaka     Tuesday   18 June 2024

Law needed to enhance women’s political participation in Bangladesh

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 19:21, 30 May 2024   Update: 22:57, 30 May 2024
Law needed to enhance women’s political participation in Bangladesh

Women Members of Parliament (MPs) in Bangladesh are advocating for a dedicated law to enhance female participation in politics and empower women leaders. 

They stress the importance of public funding to boost women’s representation in general seats in elections. This call was made during a sharing meeting organized by Democracy International (DI) in Dhaka. 

The event, part of DI’s 'Narir Joye Shobar Joy' (When Women Win, We All Win) campaign and funded by USAID, featured 10 current and former MPs from the Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party (JaPa). 

The focus was on equitable campaign funding for female candidates, who often face financial constraints and insufficient party support compared to their male counterparts. 

Speakers highlighted the challenges women candidates encounter in securing nominations. To address these issues, the women MPs plan to introduce a private members bill in parliament advocating for public funding in future elections. 

They also urge political parties to increase funding and nominations for women, ensuring equitable support for female politicians. 

This meeting builds upon a previous gathering where participants emphasized the need to raise this issue in Parliament and amplify women’s voices. 

Dana L. Olds, Chief of Party at Democracy International, emphasized that the initiative led by women members is an important ongoing journey. 

She discussed the importance of male colleagues to actively participate in creating a more inclusive political landscape in Bangladesh. 

Dr Abdul Alim, Principal Director of Democracy International, presented a draft private members’ bill. Rowshan Ara Mannan, a former MP and advisor to the Chairman of JaPa, shared experiences related to private members’ bills. 

They emphasized that gender-targeted public funding has successfully enhanced women’s political participation and achieved gender balance in other countries. 

Lipika Biswas, Senior Director of DI, announced that the draft bill will be shared with key stakeholders, including the speaker of Parliament and the parliamentary standing committee. DI will implement a comprehensive communications and advocacy plan to foster public discussion and garner support from male allies both within and outside Parliament, ensuring visibility and backing for this critical issue. 

The sharing meeting witnessed the participation of notable figures, including Reserved Seat MPs from the Awami League: Aroma Dutta, Mahfuza Sultana Moli, Drowpodi Dabi Agarwala, Shahida Tareq Dipti, and Ashrafun Nesa, and former MPs from both the Awami League and Jatiya Party. 

Other prominent women leaders from both the Awami League and Jatiya Party were in attendance. 

Lubain Chowdhury Masum, USAID's Political Processes Advisor at USAID Bangladesh, was also present.  
 

MA/Mukul