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EachforEqual: International Women's Day

  • Published at 05:56 pm March 7th, 2020
Najmun Nahar, a peripatetic, who has been travelling the world with  Bangladesh’s  ag for the last 19 years, poses with the national  ag and a globe
Najmun Nahar, a peripatetic, who has been travelling the world with Bangladesh’s flag for the last 19 years, poses with the national flag and a globe Collected

To check whether the theme reflects the current social factors in Bangladesh, this correspondent spoke to some successful women who work in different sectors in the country

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, programs and colourful events are being observed in the country and across the world on 8 March. 

The campaign theme for International Women's Day this year is ‘EachforEqual’.

To check whether the theme reflects the current social factors in Bangladesh, this correspondent spoke to some successful women who work in different sectors in the country. 

Unequivocally they said:  “Our society has indubitably gone through a change; women are now contributing in many ways like men and a woman is now ruling the country, but then again when it comes to women empowerment, society still has a long way to go for establishing gender parity. Women still play second fiddle to men when it comes to empowering society. ”  

According to the WEF report Global Gender Gap Report 2020: “Western Europe currently has the highest gender parity at 76.7%. Being the only one in the top 100 among its South Asian neighbours, Bangladesh attained the 50th position out of 153 countries worldwide.”

Reflecting the magnitude of the challenge when it comes to gender parity, Bangladesh is the only one of the seven South Asian countries studied to feature in the top 100 of the Global Gender Gap Index.

Jobera Rahman Linu, president of Dhaka Cycling Sports Club and a former national table tennis star, told Dhaka Tribune: "March 8 is only one day when we talk about women's rights and empowerment. Financial prosperity will never be able to empower women till the time we get proper respect from our families."

Adding to her statement, she said: “Women who come to sports are mostly from low-income families. Rather than developing their talents, women get into sports to earn a little bit of money,” she further said. "I have seen women players getting less than men while playing football or cricket. Even prize money sometimes is lower for women, and society only encourages women to participate in indoor games like chess."

A video journalist at Somoy Media Ltd, Nusrat Naher Naznin Santa, who began working 10 years ago, remembers the first time when she had to go outdoors to cover an assignment with her male colleagues. She was taunted by people from different walks of society, reminding her that carrying cameras was a job for men only. 

Santa continued: “The courage to pick up a camera and run outdoors came from love of the camera itself and the unending support of my father. The journey for me has never been smooth, though. I still face a lot of teasing when I go outdoors to cover my assignments.” 

Najmun Nahar, a peripatetic, has been travelling the world with Bangladesh’s flag for the last 19 years. Brunei is the 140th country she has been to as a representative of her country. 

After graduating from Rajshahi University, Najmun started applying for scholarships to universities abroad with the dream of travelling the world.

Najmun has visited many countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique.  She has travelled to many European countries as well.  

But when she started travelling through the districts of Bangladesh, she faced a lot of barriers from society. As a result, she could not travel to many places in her own country. 

Najmun said: “First of all, to become a peripatetic and especially a female peripatetic we will have to shrug off any insecurity that can create hindrances for us to reach our goal of travelling. I still face a lot of gender discrimination while travelling alone, but that has never stopped me from achieving my goals.”

She advised girls in Bangladesh to travel more despite the obstacles before them.

“If I had stopped when I was taunted, teased or bullied by the so-called men of society I would have never had the chance to fulfil my dreams,” Najmun added. 

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