It is not enough to have a few women at the very top of government -- women need, and deserve, greater presence at all levels
For women in Bangladesh, the path to political power is fraught with difficulty.
While strides have been made in women’s participation in various fields, the fact remains, our political culture does not give women a level-playing field, which is tipped in favour of men.
The concerns were voiced at a roundtable discussion organized by Democracy International and the Dhaka Tribune on the advancement of women’s leadership in the nation’s election: Where money and muscle power matter, parties are simply unwilling to give women the necessary space.
As a result, women continue to be woefully underrepresented in the political sphere and in parliament.
The discriminatory attitude which hold women back from participating in politics needs to change -- right now, the problem is such that newcomers in politics and under-qualified male candidates can successfully secure seats through the power of lobbying, while dedicated, hardworking, and qualified female candidates get left behind.
A solution to the problem lies in keeping a minimum of 33% of the committees female, which is already a rule, but parties tend to get around this obligation by putting women in minor posts.
Finally, we need to have a serious discussion about increasing the number of general seats for women in government, parliament, and the Election Commission.
Women comprise of half the country’s population, and no country in the world can dream of moving forward in the 21st century without integrating women into the political sphere on fair and equitable footing.
It is not enough to have a few women at the very top of government -- women need, and deserve, greater presence at all levels.