Dhaka, Mar 8 (UNB) - US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller has visited the Chittagong Hill Tracts and key USAID development programs this week.
During his visit, Ambassador Miller reviewed USAID's work with local communities to build resilient livelihoods and forest management systems that sustain biodiversity, the region’s water supply, and improve incomes, said the US Embassy in Dhaka on Friday.
Ambassador Miller, accompanied by USAID Mission Director Derrick Brown, met residents and local government and community leaders.
In his engagements, Ambassador Miller said the U.S. government works closely with the Government of Bangladesh and other development partners to improve economic opportunities for local communities and promote conservation of the unique natural resources in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
USAID has helped 24,000 local community members improve their livelihoods through vegetable, poultry, pig, and goat farming.
As part of improving water security, USAID programs have increased access to safe drinking water while reducing community dependence on timber and other forest products.
USAID has also partnered with the Bangladesh Forest Department and local communities to plant 625 hectares of trees in reserve forests. Another 920 hectares will be reforested this year.
Ambassador Miller also saw first-hand the changing climate risks facing the region and efforts underway to improve responsiveness to natural disasters.
Ambassador Miller and Mission Director Derrick Brown visited the Rangamati Sadar Hospital to observe USAID training for emergency response personnel.
These training sessions enhance the capacity of health care personnel throughout the Chittagong Hill Tracts for emergency preparedness for mass casualty and disaster management.
The site visits were undertaken in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programme.
The US government, through USAID, has provided more than $7 billion in development assistance to Bangladesh since 1971.
In 2018, USAID provided nearly $219 million in development assistance to improve the lives of people in Bangladesh through programs that expand food security and economic opportunity, improve health and education, promote democratic institutions and practices, protect the environment, and increase resilience to climate change.
Dhaka, Mar 7 (UNB) - Women’s job opportunities have barely improved globally since the early 1990s, UN labour experts said on Thursday, warning that female workers are still penalised for having children and looking after them.
Released on the eve of International Women's Day, celebrated on March 8, the International Labour Organization (ILO) report found that 1.3 billion women were in work in 2018, compared with two billion men – a less than two percent improvement in the last 27 years, according to UN News.
A future of work in which women will no longer lag behind men is within reach, but it will take a quantum leap, not just hesitant incremental steps, to get there, according to a new ILO report.
“We need to make it happen, and the report, A Quantum leap for gender equality: For a better future of work for all, provides a way forward,” said Director, ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department, Manuela Tomei.
The report is the culmination of five years of work under the ILO’s Women at Work Centenary Initiative.
It finds that in the last 27 years the difference in the employment rates for men and women has shrunk by less than two percentage points.
In 2018, women are still 26 percentage points less likely to be in employment than men. This contrasts with the findings of an ILO-Gallup 2017 global report on women’s and men’s preferences about women’s participation in paid work, which found that 70 percent of women prefer to have a job rather than staying at home and that men agree.
In addition, between 2005 and 2015, the ‘motherhood employment penalty’, the difference in the proportion of adult women with children under six years in employment, compared to women without young children, increased significantly, by 38 percent.
Besides, women are still underrepresented at the top, a situation that has changed very little in the last 30 years, according to the report.
Fewer than one third of managers are women, although they are likely to be better educated than their male counterparts.
The report shows generally that education is not the main reason for lower employment rates and lower pay of women, but rather that women do not receive the same dividends for education as men.
The gender wage gap remains at an average of 20 percent globally. Mothers experience a ‘motherhood wage penalty’ that compounds across their working life, while fathers enjoy a wage premium.
“A number of factors are blocking equality in employment, and the one playing the largest role is caregiving,” said Tomei.
“In the last 20 years, the amount of time women spent on unpaid care and domestic work has hardly fallen, and men’s has increased by just eight minutes a day. At this pace of change it will take more than 200 years to achieve equality in time spent in unpaid care work.”
The report sets out laws and practices that are changing this dynamic, for a more equal sharing of care within the family, and between the family and the State. “When men share unpaid care work more equally, more women are found in managerial positions,” added Tomei, highlighting the role of men in creating a more gender-equal work of work.
The report also includes findings from ‘real time’ data, gathered by the professional networking website LinkedIn from five countries, covering 22 percent of the global employed population in three different regions.
This joint ILO-LinkedIn collaboration found that women with digital skills – currently a requirement for the most-in-demand and highest paying jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths-related (STEM) – are only between a third and a quarter of LinkedIn members with such skills.
However, it also revealed that the women who reach director-level positions get there faster, more than a year earlier than their male counterparts.
The Quantum Leap report shows that achieving gender equality will mean policy changes and actions in a range of mutually reinforcing areas, and it points to measures that can lead towards a transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality.
The path of rights is the foundation for a more equal world of work, including the right to equal opportunities, the right to be free from discrimination, violence and harassment, and to equal pay for work of equal value.
A future of work where everyone can care more, with time to care and inclusive care policies and structures is also strongly advocated in the report.
A more caring future of work will also mean significant employment creation. The need for universal social protection and a sound macroeconomic framework is also addressed.
With the wide-ranging global transformations underway – technological, demographic and climate change – the report calls for greater efforts to engage and support women through work transitions.
Increasing women’s voice and representation will also be essential to ensure all the other paths are truly effective.
“We will not get the future of work with social justice we need unless we accelerate action to improve progress on gender equality at work. We already know what needs to be done,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
“We know much more now about gender gaps and what drives them, and what needs to be done to make meaningful progress on gender equality in the world of work – the path is clear,” said Shauna Olney, Chief Gender, Equality and Diversity & ILOAIDS Branch.
“With commitment and courageous choices, there can be a quantum leap, so that the future of work does not reinforce the inequalities of the past. And this will benefit everyone.”
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.
Dhaka, Mar 7 (UNB) - Bangladesh missions in New Delhi and Islamabad on Thursday observed historic 7th March recalling the epoch-making speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that led the nation to the country’s independence.
High Commission in New Delhi held a meeting to discuss the significance of the historic 7th March speech that had inspired and motivated the Bangalees to fight for their nation’s independence in 1971.
High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali presided over the meeting, according to Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
Mission officials took part in the discussion of the importance of this remarkable day in the nation's history and Bangladesh’s independent struggle in 1971.
Muazzem Ali highlighted the significance of Bangabandhu’s 7 March speech and said the 7 March Speech has been the centre point in the history of Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
He said inclusion of the speech in the “UNESCO Memory of the World Registrar’ as the documentary heritage is a great pride for all Bangladeshis.
Through this recognition by UNESCO, the speech has now been internationalised.
The High Commissioner urged all citizens of the country, especially the young generation, to study carefully the historic speech of 7th March to understand the glorious history of the country’s Liberation War and political wisdom of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangladesh High Commission in Islamabad also observed the historic day of 7th March. In the morning, a discussion meeting was held at the chancery premises with High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Pakistan Tarik Ahsan in the chair.
During the discussion session, speakers dwelt on the significance of the 7th March speech.
High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan paid homage to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
He said the historic speech of 7th March ushered in a new chapter of liberation struggle.
Following the discussion, a session of recitation of poems based on Bangabandhu’s 7th March speech was held.
Later, a video documentary on the Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March speech was screened.
Messages, issued on this occasion by the President and Prime Minister, were read out at the programme. A special prayer was held seeking divine blessings for Bangabandhu and independence martyrs.
Expatriate Bangladeshis and officials of the mission joined the programme.
Dhaka, Mar 7 (UNB) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called upon all to support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.
“Let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives,” he said in a message marking the International Women’s Day that falls on March 8.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure, systems and frameworks that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture.
The UN chief laid emphasis on redoubling efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership. “We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.”
He said gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.
“We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all,” said Guterres.
In recent decades, the UN chief said, they have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. “But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.”
He said gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. “We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women’s rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone we will begin to shift the balance.”
The UN chief said increasing the number of women decision-makers is fundamental and at the United Nations, he has made this a personal and urgent priority. “We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world, and the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management. We will continue to build on this progress.”
Guterres said women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap.
“We know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but even governments that are vocal advocates fail to back their words with action. The use of sexual violence as a tactic in conflict continues to traumatize individuals and entire societies,” he said.
He said innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. “The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all.”