Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the women of the country to buildup themselves in order to be capable of being empowered.
"Empowerment cannot be attained by force, it’s the matter of attaining through own capability," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the function of the International Women’s Day at Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
According to the United Nations Women, the theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.
Sheikh Hasina said that power will never be handed over to them by any other person. "I will want my sisters to prepare themselves for that," she said.
Talking about rape incidents, she said that this is not a problem in Bangladesh alone, this is a global problem.
"I think that we need awareness, the men also need to step forward regarding this matter, because the rapists are men," she said.
She said that those involved in such animal like repression are the most heinous.
"I don’t want to call them humans. I want to call them inferior to animal. The whole society has to take steps against them," she said.
Saying that economic freedom is very crucial for women, she urged the womenfolk of the country not to sit idle at homes and stand on their own feet instead.
She said a woman can consolidate her position in society and family and none will dare to neglect her if she earns money through work.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has enacted necessary laws with a view to protecting women and children from all types of violence, keeping the provision for stringent punishment.
The laws, she said, included – ‘Women & Children Repression Prevention Act-2000’, ‘Child Marriage Restraint Act-2017’, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2013, ‘Dowry Restraint Act-2018’, 'Child Marriage Prevention Act- 2017', National Women Development Policy 2011 and National Work Plan for Women Development 2013-25.
Mentioning that the country’s womenfolk are getting opportunities in every field, Sheikh Hasina said this success did not come overnight and for this “we had to struggle much”.
Elaborating her government’s measures for women development, she said the government has been implementing various projects and programmes to consolidate women’s empowerment, child protection and achieve gender equality
Assuming office after a gap of 21 years in 1996, she said, the Awami League government started designing different programmes for women development.
“We’ve increased maternity leave from 4 months to 6 months with salary and introduced the name of mother along with the name of father in every aspect,” she said.
She said women are now playing significant role in politics, diplomacy, education, art and culture, research, trade and commerce, sports and games, investigation and adventures.
At the outset of the speech, Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and said that he ensured equal opportunity for women in the constitution through.
Sheikh Hasina also remembered Begum Sheikh Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, who worked for the country along with Bangabandhu all the time giving him inspiration, courage and suggestions.
“Bangamata arranged the marriage of the girl victims of the Liberation War whose families were unwilling to take them back,” she said.
She said Bangladesh is advancing socioeconomically, and this trend has to be maintained so that this pace must not be stopped.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Ministry Fazilantun Nessa Indira presided over the programme where Acting Country Representative of UN Women Shoko Ishikawa and Woman and Child Affairs Secretary Kazi Rowshan Akhter also spoke.
Earlier, the prime minister handed over “Joyeeta Sammanana” to five women for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.
They are Mosammat Anwara Begum, Dr Suparna Dey Simpu, Mamtaj Begum, Auronika Meherin Ritu and Valerie Ann Taylor. Each of the recipients got crest, certificate and Tk 50,000 cheque.
At the function, a documentary on Bangabandhu and Women's Development was screened.
The Prime Minister also witnessed a colourful cultural programme.