POST TIME: 5 March, 2021 04:58:17 PM
Building decent Bangladesh through empowering women
Global statistics shows that in developing world, women comprise half of the entire population and they are the poorest of the poor not merely in wealth but in every other index of development
Shishir Reza & Motiur Rahman

Building decent Bangladesh through empowering women

How many women are absolute poor in Bangladesh? How many women are physically or mentally tortured? Have any woman need legal or mental counseling?  Have any woman need agricultural card in Bangladesh? What are the impacts of Covid-19 on women? What are their levels of empowerment? What types of empowerment women enjoy in a patriarchal society? Do they get their just honour for household works, care, love and affection? Why real empowerment of women is necessary for building up a Decent Society? Solution of all these questions are analysed very critically and justifiable way by eminent economist Prof. Dr. Abul Barkat in his recently published book namely “Boro Prodaye Somaj-Orthoniti-Rastro: Vairuser Mohabiporjoye Thekey Shovon Bangladehser Sondhane (On the Larger Canvas of Society-Economy-State: In Search of a Transition from the Virus-Driven Great Disaster to a Decent Bangladesh).

Global statistics shows that in developing world, women comprise half of the entire population and they are the poorest of the poor not merely in wealth but in every other index of development. In relation to 55% women are directly or indirectly attached with agricultural activities around the world. Bangladesh also falls in the developing country category. Around of half of the population in Bangladesh are women. Professor Abul Barkat estimates that, 80 million women lives in 45 million families; Now 38 million women are absolute poor in 15 million household; every year 2.3 million women suffered mental/physical torture and they need legal and health counseling. Abul Barkat also explains women’s contribution in the economy of Bangladesh, estimate time spent by both women and men on all types of daily activities, economic value of woman’s uncounted activities, generate recommendations to clarify the woman’s status in the family and society. He also suggested that a “Decent Social System” is possible to build up by empowering of women properly.

Professor Abul Barkat clarifies "Decent Social System" is based on a democratic state system, which puts loyalty to nature at the front position; all socio-economic and political foundations should be built on the basis of the influence of nature. There are three foundational component of this concept – (i) Social foundational component owns knowledge rich, free thinking and creativity promoting; solidarity rich; secular; free from all forms of superstitions; rational humans; human well-fairest science; (ii) Economic foundational component includes people’s ownership on natural resources; social ownership on production; filthy rich less; share and market less system; and (iii) Political foundational component includes democracy, lord less state system, social justice, community administration and people’s responsibility to protect motherland. The fundamental objectives of the theory of decent society are accelerating the process of human enlightenment; creativity promoting knowledge system; instilling high sense of solidarity; process of making human rationality up; making people free from all forms of inequality; free from rent-seeker; making a state for 100 percent people’s ownership and master less civic governance.

Abul Barkat presents eleven principles to renovate decent Bangladesh from covid-19 impacts. 1. We want development-welfare-progression, but the development would be nature-environment oriented; 2. We need economic growth. We don’t need environmentally harmful, socially unjustified, human resources destructive growth; 3. Growth should be inequality reduced; 4. Growth must be employment-creation oriented; 5. Per capita income or growth domestic product is not development. It must be ensure healthy life of women-children-old-marginal-poor-deprived-isolated people; 6. We want to transform the power of youth to real resources; 7. We want positive social impact; 8. People’s ownership on natural resources (land, water body, forest, space resources, coal, gas and mineral) on behalf of nature; 9. We want to uphold human security and equal opportunity for state-society-economy’ development; 10. Promote inequality reduced home grown development philosophy; 11. We want to extract the taste global economic opportunities.

To make Bangladesh a decent one; politically, socially and economically empowerment of women is indispensable. Abul Barkat estimates, if a 10 years plus maid servant spend 16 thousands 641 crore working hour then the economic value would be 2 lacs 49 thousands 615 crore taka, it means 48% of total GDP. He suggested eliminating all forms of discrimition and inequality against women in Bangladesh; crediting women entrepreneur; removing all forms of violence against women; implementing national women policy (2011); increasing budget for women in local government; working plan for indigenous women development; promoting gender equality basis research; incentives for women in vocational and religious education; implementing policies for gender sensitive technology; promoting principles where women affected by covid-19.    

Moreover, sustainable development goals (SDGs) include reducing inequality and ensure decent jobs for all by 2030. So, we need proper strategies, financial support and public participation to achieve this goal. Abul Barkat recommends ensuring opportunities for a full life and full freedom that women should enjoy; inclusion of the excluded women groups; expanding choices to lead lives value; removal of all sources of un-freedom; respecting constitutional and justifiable rights; eradicating poverty; breaking deprivation trap; taking gender sensitive program and projects to build up a decent Bangladesh.

Shishir Reza is an Environmental Analyst & Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association; Motiur Rahman is a Research Consultant, Human Development Research Centre (HDRC), Dhaka.