Dhaka, Mar 7 (UNB) – Australian High Commissioner Julia Niblett Niblett on Thursday hosted a roundtable discussion to celebrate the success of Bangladeshi women in non-traditional roles in the military, police, media and the engineering sectors.
Bangladesh’s first female Maj Gen Susane Giti, Ekattor TV crime reporter Nadia Sharmeen, Additional Deputy Police Commissioner working on countering violent extremism Mahfuza Liza and Associate Prof and Chairperson of the Department of Robotics & Mechatronics, University of Dhaka Dr Lafifa Jamal attended the roundtable discussion.
These trailblazing Bangladeshi women, at the discussion arranged ahead of International Women’s Day, highlighted the importance of family support, especially of fathers and male family members, to their success in working in non-traditional fields.
The International Women’s Day, which falls on March 7, is a time to celebrate and reflect on progress made but also to recommit to addressing persistent barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment, said the High Commission.
The all-female leadership team at the Australian High Commission - High Commissioner Niblett, Deputy High Commissioner Penny Morton and Senior Corporate Officer and Consul Sanuki Jayarajah – is driving changes through their engagement in gender equality.
The discussion highlighted common threads in the challenges faced by women in Bangladesh and Australia including the need for equal pay for equal work, flexible working arrangements and recognition of caring responsibilities.
Niblett said Australia recognises the importance of empowering women and girls everywhere to seek opportunities in all fields, in Bangladesh, in Australia and elsewhere. “The participation of women is central to inclusive economic prosperity, social development and peace and security.”
In 2017-18, Australia delivered $1.3 billion in development assistance for gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.
In Bangladesh, Australia has contributed to the achievement of gender parity in primary education enrolment and completion rates, and continues to be a strong supporter of skills development for girls as part of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Strategy.
Niblett noted that they have made a concerted effort to drive women’s participation in higher education, with fifty percent of the Australia Awards post-graduate scholarships in Bangladesh being allocated to women.
The need for inclusive leadership in driving change was considered central to achieving gender equality, said the High Commission.
High-level support was required, for example, to introduce policies that enable women to seek career advancement and leadership positions, such as maternity leave, flexible working arrangements and work-based child care facilities, it said.