“With economic empowerment of women, we all win”, said Ambassador Merete Lundemo to the inaugural session of the National Council Meeting 2016 of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), attended by more than 500 women counsellors from BMP’s central and local committees all over the country.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) is a voluntary, non-partisan and member-based women’s organization. Norway has been supporting the organisation for more than twenty years. In her speech, Ambassador Lundemo commended Bangladesh Mahila Parishad for its continuous struggle to advance women’s rights and women’s empowerment in Bangladesh. “There remains much to be done in all countries to establish fair societies where everyone is represented equally. Everyone much struggle to increase women's participation in decision making and promote women’s empowerment” said the Ambassador. She mentioned that Bangladeshi women are contributing a lot to the country’s development. Women’s hard work in micro-businesses, in rice paddies, in tea gardens and in the ready-made garments sector were cited as a few examples.
UN Women country representative in Bangladesh, Christine Hunter, mentioned that Bangladeshi women were facing “cumulative systematic exclusion” while their rights were diminishing. Calling for the recognition of women's contributions at households, Editor and publisher of The Daily Star, Mahfuz Anam, recommended that women with different professions must unite and raise voice against discrimination in their respective fields.
While elaborating on BMP’s work and struggle during the last 45 years for promoting the welfare of women, President Ayesha Khanam stated the intention to discuss the organisation's strengths and weaknesses with all the members present. The way forward on important themes, like gender inequality, violence against women, preventing child and early marriage and secularism were at the centre of substantial discussions.