Women empo-werment is a burning issue all over the world, especially for developing countries like us. It is related to the upholding and improving the social, economical, political and legal strength of women. It ensures equal-right to women and makes them confident enough to claim their rights of freedom of living their life with self-worth, respect and dignity.
There is no doubt that women have come a long way to gain equal rights in the society. Though women folks constitute approximately 50% of the world population, so far as their social status is concerned, they are not treated as equal to men in everywhere. In our country half of the total population is women whose socio economic condition is very poor. Here men and women's participation in social development is not equal.
Many indoor and outdoor activities of women are not treated as work or job. Though women work in educational institutions, hospitals, factories, law enforcing agencies, even after their contribution, women are neglected, tortured and persecuted. There are several challenges that are plaguing the issue of women's right in our country. Most of the women in Bangladesh believe in traditional social values and superstitions. In this condition women are always dependent on men. One of the common norms is continuing preference for the birth of a son to the birth of a girl which is a prevailing scenario in almost all societies and communities.
These types of attitudes lie in the belief that male children inherit the clan and look after their parents at the last stage of their life. On the other hand women have to lead lower life in the male dominate society. Another cause of it is that man is the wage earners, not women, so in social attitude the role of women is not considered important as men's.
In addition, Bangladesh has experienced significant improvements in women's health over the past three decades. Female participation in microfinance activities has led to an increased sense of empowerment, measured by factors such as social acceptance, political involvement, decision-making, which in turn have led to general welfare improvements.
Yet, our women still continue to face numerous challenges. In every industrial section in RMG sector, a large number of workers are women. They also are getting the short end of the stick in the labor market. There are still quite a few areas where women empowerment is largely lacking. Poverty and illiteracy add to this complication. The empowerment of women begins with a guarantee of their health and safety. It could only be achieved if their social status and economic condition is improved.
To create a sustainable world for women, the first and foremost priority should be given to the education of women. Special attention needs in this regards, so that every woman can get the right of education and can understand their role in the society. Awareness programs need to be organized, specially belonging to neglected sections about their rights. They should be allowed to work and should be provided enough safety and support to work. They also should provide with proper wages, so that their status can be elevated in the society.
The empowerment of women has become one of the most important concerns of this century. Women represent half of the world's population. When women will push the family more forward, the country will go ahead and the whole nation will be developed. The government initiatives alone would not be sufficient to achieve the goal. The society must have to participate to create an atmosphere in which there will be no gender discriminations. Very soon women will have full opportunities of self decision making and participations in social, political and economical life of the country with a true sense of equality.
The writer is a social activist
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