Join hands to end gender-based violence: Envoys

DHAKA :A group of heads of foreign missions, stationed in Dhaka, have called upon all to stand with them and their Bangladeshi sisters and male allies to end gender-based violence (GBV) once and for all. ‘We call upon each of you to stand with us, our Bangladeshi sisters and male allies to end gender-based violence once and for all,’ they said in a joint op-ed marking the International Women’s Day that falls on March 8, reports UNB.
The ‘Ambassadors for Change’ representing the governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund, the United States Agency for International Development and the World Food Program made the call. They said no country can afford gender-based violence (GBV) and in Bangladesh, the costs of GBV are estimated at 2.1 percent of the country’s GDP. ‘Eliminating GBV promotes Bangladesh’s economic progress.’
‘Each day, violence stops a girl from going to school and prevents a woman from taking a job, compromising their future and the economic and social development of their communities, the article reads. to deal with physical injuries and emotional scars, while social and legal services struggle to respond. ‘Can Bangladesh continue its much-heralded progress toward middle-income status if its economy is robbed of the invaluable resource of half its population’ They observed that achieving gender equality is a top priority for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. ‘Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in improving the lives of women and girls. Primary and secondary schools enroll as many girls as boys.’ Maternal and infant mortality have declined dramatically, and women form the backbone of the country’s economic development.
The readymade garment (RMG) industry, Bangladesh’s largest export sector, employs four million Bangladeshis, the majority of whom are women, the op-ed reads. The percentage of females in the sector is waning, however, and as this industry undertakes structural transformations, the role and place of women in the Bangladesh economy must become a priority for policies and programs. The creation and expansion of microfinance that prioritises women entrepreneurs has increased female participation in economic activities and is among Bangladesh’s most significant contributions to increased global prosperity.
Gender-based violence, according to the article, undermines this progress. ‘More than 80 percent of currently-married Bangladeshi women are abused at least once during their lifetime, either by suffering physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse, or controlling behavior.’ ‘Ending GBV is a simple matter of right and wrong; ensuring girls and women can live without fear of violence is a fundamental step in the pursuit of non-violence, not only for girls and women, but for boys and men as well.’ Stopping the cycle of violence requires raising awareness and engagement at all levels of society. Change can start with local initiatives. They said changing the mindset and putting in place the economic fundamentals and necessary institutions to accelerate growth and reduce poverty, leaving no one behind, will be a key part of the formula to achieve middle.
income status.
Improving the social status and rights of women and girls is a crucial part of this transformation, the article reads.
‘Each of us can take simple steps to accelerate this transformation by refusing to tolerate or excuse GBV and by offering help to those experiencing abuse.’
The joint op-ed is jointly written by Julia Niblett, High Commissioner of Australia to Bangladesh, Wanja Campos da Nobrega, Ambassador of Brazil, Hajah Masurai Binti Haji Masri, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam, Benot-Pierre Larame, High Commissioner of Canada, Sophie Aubert, Ambassador of France Nur Ashikin Mohd Taib, High Commissioner of Malaysia, Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sidsel Bleken, Ambassador of Norway, Yasoja Gunasekera, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Johan Frisell, Ambassador of Sweden, Alison Mary Blake, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, Marcia Bernicat, Ambassador of the United States, Janina Jaruzelski, USAID Bangladesh Mission Director, Christine Hunter, Country Representative, UN Women, Iori Kato, acting Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Christa Räder, Country Director, World Food Program (WFP).