To establish women’s rights needs continue movement: women activists
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Women activists on Sunday vowed to continue their movement unless they couldn’t establish women’s rights in the family, society as well as state and empower them in political and economical spheres. They made the vow while addressing the 3rd national conference of women organisations held at the BIAM auditorium in Dhaka.

 Scores of activists from different women organisations talked about their rights and empowerment at the conference. Naripakkha and Durbar, a women movement network, organised the conference with the slogan ‘Amra Anibo Ranga Provat’ (we will bring the sunny morning). The theme of the conference was to make the women movement dynamic. Begum Shamshunnahar, convener of Naripakkha and Durbar Network, in her inaugural speech said the objective of such conference was to reinvigorate women movement, discuss on different aspects for women’s emancipation and exchange views with the grassroots.

‘We held the first national conference in 1995 to build a common platform for the women as they could raise their voice in the 4th world women conference.’ A total of 450 organisations, including 242 women organisations from 56 districts, had participated at the first national conference, she said, adding that the 2nd conference was held in 2002 with the theme ‘Stop all sorts of violence against women’. At the daylong conference, women activists discussed and exchanged their views on human rights and women movement, cultural transformation, democracy, citizenship and empowerment issues.

A total of six sessions on intensifying the women movement, stopping violence against women, building and intensifying leadership, sexual life and rights of women, participation and representation of women in politics and elimination of discrimination against women in law was held at the conference. Naila Zaman Khan, professor of child neurology at Dhaka Shishu Hospital and also a woman activist, shared her experience on women movement.

Najma Akhter, leader of garment workers, said economic emancipation should be top priority for women’s development. Sara Zaker, drama director and woman activist, observed that the private TV channels were not highlighting women issues properly. She also called for opening a channel only for women as they could participate in live show and express their opinion about women issues.

Sara criticised the government for its decision on banning live show in electronic media. Simeen Mahmud, researcher of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said women empowerment was a big challenge for the women living in a patriarchal society. Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nejera Kori, Mahin Sultan of Naripakkha, Faustina Pereira, director of human rights and legal aid of BRAC, Syeda Rezwana Hasan, executive director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association, Rokeya Rafiq Baby, executive director of Karmajibi Nari, Giti Ara Nasrin, professor of Dhaka University, and Jerina Rahman Khan, professor of the university, also spoke at the conference.

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