Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021
Today is the 8th March, International Women’s Day (IWD), recognized by the United Nations in 1977. The day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Due to coronavirus, this year’s IWD is being observed with this theme: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” to highlight centrality of contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry throughout the world.
MJF supports national and international commitments towards gender equality. MJF and its more than 100 partner NGOs have been celebrating this year’s IWD with a number of activities both at central and local levels.
Due to Coronavirus, MJF organized several online events to celebrate IWD 2021. On 4th March, MJF organized a webinar to highlight different aspects of a draft law titled “Hindu Succession Act-2020″, prepared by a national coalition called “Hindu Ain Pronoyoney Nagorik Udyog”. MJF is the secretariat of this coalition and will submit the draft copy of the law to the law minister. It may be mentioned here that the classical Hindu law prohibits all daughters to inherit. During the webinar, all speakers emphasized on equal rights of both men and women inheritors to their ancestral properties.
On 6th March, MJF organized another webinar titled “The Current State of Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”. During this webinar, it was revealed that no adolescents from Patuakhali and Barguna received the services in 2019 and 2020, while no boys received the service in Bhola during the same period. The current quality of healthcare services at community level is unsatisfactory due to the absence of adequate service providers. In addition, adolescents also have no clear idea about the services and are not informed significantly, speakers said.
MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam said the current state of health care for adolescents at the community level is very poor. “We don’t talk to teenagers seriously about the important matter. Health, nutrition and population education at school level are not sufficient,” she also said. Chief Guest Education Minister Dipu Moni said “Adolescents feel shy to share sexual and reproductive issues with their parents and teachers. On the other hand, our guardians are not conscious in this regard too. Our mentality should be changed.” Two lakh teachers will soon start working to provide counselling at school level, the minister added.
The UKAid supported MJF in organizing the above two events.
On 8th March, MJF oragnised a parliamentary-styled debate competition involving college and university students under its Women’s Voice and Leadership Bangladesh project, supported by Global Affairs Canada. The central topic of the debate is: Intimate relations without consent induced by social media is contributing to violence against women in the country. MJF Executive Director Shaheen Anam Chaired the final session.
WVLB Partner Pragroshor organized an inter-generation dialogue on “Feminist Leadership: Roles & Strategies to promoting Gender Equality”.
Through support of SIDA, MJF also organized radio dialogue, debate competition and radio drama targeting youth and adolescents, RMG workers and community partners to celebrate the IWD 2021.
To moblise public opinion in favour of recognizing women’s unpaid work, MJF’s Executive Director wrote an op-ed in the Daily Star on 8th March where she commented: “if ever there was a time to value and recognise the role women play in overcoming crisis and sustaining societies, it is now. With the world economy in ruins, it is the leadership of women along with active collaboration of men, institutions and state that will pull us out of this crisis.” Here is the link of the op-ed: