POST TIME: 23 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Political parties struggling to accommodate 33pc women in committees

Political parties struggling to accommodate 33pc women in committees

The country's registered political parties are struggling to keep 33 per cent of their committee positions reserved for women by 2020 in line with the conditions outlined during their registration with the Election Commission, reports UNB.

This frustrating scenario came in the limelight when 37 political parties, out of 40, submitted their progress reports to the Election Commission over keeping at least 33 per cent positions reserved for women in their all committees by 2020. Among the major political parties, Awami League has so far fulfilled 19 per cent of all committee positions with women in the last nine years, while BNP fulfilled 15 per cent and Jatiya Party did 20 per cent in all the committee positions.

As per Article 90B of the Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972, a registered political party will have to fix the goal of reserving at least 33 per cent of all committee positions for women, including the central committee and successively achieving this goal by 2020. While being registered with the EC first in 2008 during the two-year caretaker government, the political parties had promised to achieve the goal. In June 2017, the Commission first sent letters to 40 parties requesting them to place the progress report over the goal. The EC has recently prepared a report compiling the information received from the political parties.

All the parties except Gano Forum, Oikyabodha Nagorik Andolan and Bangladesh Tarikat Federation submitted their progress reports on the goal within the extended deadline that expired in November last. In its progress report, only Gano Front claimed that they have 33 per cent women in their all levels of committees.

Gano Front Chairman Zakir Hossain told UNB that they have been accommodating 33 per cent women in their committees since 2015. EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said they received the progress reports from 37 parties over the goal, while the remaining others sought more time to submit their progress reports. The political parties said they are trying to fulfill 33 per cent of their all committee positions with women by 2020, he told UNB.

The Commission gathered the information from the political parties to know the latest condition of women representation in committees of the political parties as only three years left to go, he added. Awami League informed the Commission that they have 19 per cent women in its committees, while BNP said they have 15 per cent women, the EC acting Secretary said. As per the EC's compiled report, Awami League has 15 women in its 81-member central working committee. Besides, the party has 16 women MPs who were directly elected and 42 other women MPs of reserved seats in Parliament.

BNP said they have 15 per cent women in all committee positions, but they did not elaborate further. National Peoples Party has 20 per cent women in its central committee, while Ganotantri Party 15 per cent, Jatiya Ganotantrik Party (Jagpa) 12 per cent, Bangladesh Muslim League 6 per cent and Bangladesh Islami Front one per cent women. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said they do not get expected response in this regard, but their efforts are on to fulfill the condition.