Begum Rokeya Day will be observed on Saturday to commemorate the contribution of Begum Rokeya, a pioneer of Bengali women’s education and a social reformer for ensuring equal rights for women and men.
In observance of the day, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has taken programmes, including awarding ‘Begum Rokeys Padak’ to five women for their outstanding contributions to empowering women in the country.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday issued separate messages, paying respect to the memory of Begum Rokeya for her contribution to the spread of education for women.
Both the President and the Prime Minister congratulated the five women on receiving “Begum Rokeya Padak 2023”.
In his message, President Mohammed Shahabuddin said: “I welcome the initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to celebrate ‘Begum Rokeya Day 2023’ and confer ‘Begum Rokeya Padak’.”
The head of the state said that Begum Rokeya initiated the process of changing the lives of women in the subcontinent through the pen movement demanding equality between men and women.
She had stood beside women through various institutional supports to improve their quality of life, he added.
The plight of women and the demand for equal rights were strongly presented in Begum Rokeya’s literature, he continued.
He hoped that inspired by the ideals and initiatives of Begum Rokeya, everyone will make an effective contribution to the development and empowerment of women in the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, paid her tributes to Begum Rokeya, saying that Begum Rokeya was a far-sighted modern woman as she realized the importance of women’s education alongside men for the overall development of society and the state.
“This realization and ideal of her still inspire us,” she added.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a pioneer in spreading women’s education in Bangladesh, she said, adding that Bangabandhu believed that taking the country forward and establishing a golden Bangladesh was not possible without ensuring equal rights for women.
Therefore, realizing the immense importance of equal rights, dignity and freedom of women, Bangabandhu laid a firm foundation in the constitution for the empowerment of women.
Bangabandhu made the provision of reserved seats for women in the National Assembly, the premier said, adding that in 1972, he reserved the 10 percent quota for women for employment and in his first five-year plan adopted in 1973, he took education, health, family planning and welfare-based programmes for women.
The premier said Awami League (AL) believes in equal rights for men and women and following the footprint of Bangabandhu, the government led by AL is taking many pragmatic programmes in favor of women.
The government has ensured participation of women in all spheres of national life, she said, adding that Bangladesh ranked 7th in the world in political empowerment of women.
Women represent 70 per cent of health workers and over 80 per cent of garment workers, she said.
She said Bangladesh got various international awards, including the ‘Planet 50-50 Champion’ for her government’s outstanding contributions to women empowerment.
BSS . Dhaka