By Ali Hamid Khan
Women empowerment takes top priority on Bangladesh's list of improvements for social and economic conditions of the people.
Bangladesh emphasizes the importance of this issue on which the country's development rests. It is essential to address this issue as almost 50 percent of the workforce comprises of women and they stay mostly within their homes or care for the family without getting involved in any other outdoor activities.
Due to unawareness and illiteracy, they play a minor role in the social and economic arena, mostly because of their family and household responsibilities.
The Bangladeshi government and NGOs have developed women affairs policies to address gender discrimination and extricate the women from their conditions so that they can play a vital role in nation building and develop a strong, stable and prosperous Bangladesh.
The country has identified women empowerment as one of the key constituent elements of poverty reduction, and as such is one of the primary development assistance goals. Women participation is a priority in development for there are 100 women to 102 men.
A women's role is pivotal in family development and if a family develops on the right track there is big hope for the country's advancement.
The contribution of women in this particular area is a big boost. The money they earn goes more into family development than the money earned by male members of the family.
Bangladesh is committed to the improving of socio-economic conditions of women and integrating them into the mainstream of national life.
The main goals of the National Policy for Women Advancement are to bring about equality between men and women and improve the conditions for women.
For their emancipation, there are top programs available in skill development, employment, micro credit facilities, education regarding their rights and position in society and how to tackle different security issues and make use of the facilities that are provided to them.
The central cell for prevention of repression on women and children affairs monitors incidents of repression and take necessary measures to correct conditions resulting in the suffering of the victims of acts against the weaker section of society.
Bangladesh is vigorously pursuing policies and programs to eradicate repression on women and bring them into the forefront of social and economic activities.
Education is the best investment against gender disparity and bolstering women empowerment.
In this context, very important and positive actions have been taken to bring the female children into the fold of education, evoke their interest in education and give them incentives to pursue education in order to develop themselves, their families and the society at large. Bangladesh provides free education for girls up to Class XII in addition to stipends and food for female students.
The corollary of these steps is a boost in the attendance in schools by female students and they are responding with great enthusiasm and zeal.
This realization will surely give a thrust to the social dynamics, which will develop more quickly.
The country's emphasis is also on the health and nutrition issues. With this aim, different plans and projects have been undertaken as a healthy population can contribute immensely to the socio-economic progress. The healthy women population can also take up the task of building up the country along with their male partners.
NGOs are working with dedication in this area to help the women understand this issue and realize its importance.
BRAC, ASA, Grameen Bank are the big organizations along with other NGOs, which have through their contributions brought about marked changes in the conditions of women and enforced them with skills and financial strength to manage their lives and their families.
The contributions of these and other NGOs in the social sphere are indeed laudable. Micro credit has proved to be a huge success and has played an exceptional role in women empowerment.
We can see the impact of the NGO's programs in the villages, towns and cities as women are present in big numbers in work places, managing their businesses and participating in different activities.
Bangladesh in its march towards women empowerment has not only shown the way to its own women but also to the world through micro credit facilities offered without collateral to the poorest of the poor.
Equality and peace can be achieved only when people break out of poverty and manage their own lives on the basis of equality.