Bangladesh making huge strides in women empowerment

By Sahidul Hasan Khokon


Bangladesh, hailed as a leader in South Asia, has secured the top position for establishing gender equality, as confirmed by the World Economic Forum. Their commendable efforts have contributed significantly to the nation's economic progress. With a steadfast commitment to empowering women and promoting gender parity, Bangladesh sets an inspiring example for the region, fostering inclusive growth and social development.

Bangladesh is gradually advancing in women empowerment. And it is becoming a role model for the world. Bangladesh's progress in women empowerment in the political, social and economic arena is appreciated all over the world today. Women's participation has been ensured everywhere in state activities, outside and at home, simultaneously. In the workplace, women are proving their competence, while leading from the front in various sectors.

Women are now running the state, besides playing a crucial role in the economic development of the country. Bangladesh is ahead of many developed countries in terms of women's rights and empowerment. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Bangladesh ranks first among South Asian countries in establishing gender equality. According to a 2022 research report by the WEF, 146 countries in the world are in the best position to reduce gender inequality. Among them, the position of Bangladesh is 71st. Bangladesh ranks ninth in the world in women's empowerment in politics. The country has risen to the 141st position in terms of women's participation in the economy. It ranks 123rd in reducing inequality in education. Bangladeshi women are ahead in all spheres such as economic, political and social, as well as in decision- making, education and medical fields.

To ensure the overall development and empowerment of women, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman reserved 10 percent quota for women in government jobs in 1972. The Women's Rehabilitation Board was formed for the women affected by the War of Independence. He included the issue of women's equality in all aspects of national life in the Constitution. Article 19(3) of the Constitution of Bangladesh states that women's participation and equal opportunities at all levels of national life is provided by the state.

Political Empowerment of Women

After Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009, she formulated the National Women's Development Policy 2011. She elected a woman to the post of Speaker of the National Parliament. Sheikh Hasina was the first to appoint women as Home Minister and Foreign Minister. The Deputy Leader of the Parliament is also a woman. The number of seats reserved for women in the National Parliament of Bangladesh is 50. At present, 72 women, i.e. 20 percent of the total members, are represented in the National Parliament. Five members of the current Cabinet of the Sheikh Hasina government are women. There are 13,500 elected women representatives in local politics. Besides, one third of positions in union councils, municipalities and city corporations are reserved for women. One out of two vice chairpersons elected in Upazila Parishad are women. By 2020, 33 percent of all political party committee were women. The post of an elected female vice-chairman has been created in each Upazila Parishad and 33 percent seats in local government institutions have been reserved for women for political empowerment of women at the grassroots level. According to the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), women's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) is about 20 percent.

Women in Administration

Currently, 545 women hold high positions in the administration. These women officials are performing duties in the positions from deputy secretary to secretary. At present, there are 10 women in the senior secretary, secretary and secretary ranks in the administration. There are 83 women additional secretaries and 81 women joint secretaries. There are 454 senior women assistant secretary.