EU contributes to women empowerment in Bangladesh with duty-free market access: Ambassador
Senior Correspondent bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-03-08 22:29:23.0 BdST Updated: 2017-03-08 23:46:52.0 BdST
The European Union is contributing to women empowerment in Bangladesh by giving the duty-free market access to readymade clothes to 28-countries bloc, Head of the EU Delegation Pierre Mayaudon said while celebrating international women’s day in Dhaka.
“Women empowerment ranks very high on the EU agenda,” he said on Wednesday at a discussion meeting where women diplomats, the private sector and development specialists from the EU and Bangladesh shared their perspectives on women empowerment in Bangladesh.
Ready-made clothes that employ nearly four million women is the number one export item, and EU allows Bangladesh’s all products duty-free market access in their member countries.
The ambassador said this was “helping to change their socio-economic status and also betterment of their children”.
The Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh organised the discussion marking the day themed ‘Be bold for change’.
Politicians, members of civil society, European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) alumnae and journalists comprised the small group of audience.
Citing the government statistics, he said there is “alarming rate” of violence against women in Bangladesh.
“We have in mind the iconic face of Tonu,” he said, referring to the Comilla girl Sohagi Jahan Tonu, who was killed inside Comilla Cantonment area last year in March, but the suspects remained scot-free.
The ambassador also mentioned the new child marriage law that kept the provision of marrying off girls below 18 years of age in “exceptional” cases, and also the recent changes in the textbook that presented the status of women and girls in a conservative way.
Chargé d'affaires of the Spanish embassy Alejandra Lopez-Garcia, Netherlands embassy’s Deputy head of Mission Martine van Hoogstraten, Head of DFID Bangladesh Jane Edmonson, France Ambassador Sophie Aubert, former Bangladesh ambassador Nasim Firdaus, President of Bangladesh Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Rokeya Afzal Rahman, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation Shaheen Anam, and Independent Director of IPDC Bangladesh Limited Nasreen Sattar spoke as discussants at the function.
They shared their personal and professional experiences as women and highlighted women’s contribution to the society.
They also stressed on women’s freedom of choice and to be able to create the environment to be bold.
Former ambassador Nasim Firdaus said, “we need more women in policies and parliament, and this is not just number but in participation”.
She suggested EU playing a role in training and educating women.
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