March 8 : Women’s Day

Each year around the world, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. In many countries, IWD is an occasion to honour and praise women for their accomplishments. IWD is a national observance in many countries. According to UN Women, the original aim is to achieve full gender equality for women the world has still not been realised. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men. On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities – while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
In Bangladesh, different programmes are held to mark the day. While the IWD may be a day of global celebration, there is no room for complacency as our women still struggle on many fronts. In our country, women have been subjected to exploitation and negligence for various reasons. The most repressive incidents they face are torture inside house, abduction, trafficking, rape, acid throwing, burning, killing, mental torture, dowry related torture, torture during pregnancy and forceful prostitution as profession. They are also facing problems such as violence at working places, early marriage, forceful abortion, determining gender during pregnancy, suicide, malnutrition and poverty. UNICEF says, Bangladesh’s socio-cultural environment contains pervasive gender discrimination, so girls and women face many obstacles to their development. Girls are often considered to be financial burdens on their family, and from the time of birth, they receive less investment in their health, care and education.
In the home, women’s mobility is greatly limited and their decision-making power is often restricted. For instance, about 48 per cent of Bangladeshi women say that their husbands alone make decisions about their health, while 35 per cent say that their husbands alone make decisions regarding visits to family and friends. Violence against women is another major impediment to women’s development. “Education is essential to reducing discrimination and violence against girls and women and Bangladesh has made great progress in this area, already achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education. Women’s employment rates remain low despite progress, and their wages are roughly 60-65 per cent of male wages”, says the UN body.
Though many women in our country have become victims of injustice due to various reasons, another section of women, who have different disabilities, are the worst sufferers. The overall condition of female with disabilities (FWDs) is more pathetic in the country. There are about 12 million FWDs in Bangladesh. Issues related to people with disabilities in Bangladesh are still dominated by ignorance, fear and superstition in the community. The direct result of this has been the neglect of the persons with disabilities in all spheres of life. FWDs may be considered to have a double disadvantage, as they are already socially discriminated against their male inmates within this patriarchal society (abridged).
The writer is a journalist.
E-mail contact–sissabuj@yahoo.com


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