Women of this country have empowered themselves and played a key role in the nation's development, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said on Thursday.
The minister made the remarks while addressing the closing and award ceremony of 'Dao Shara, Tolo Awaj,' a 16-day event initiated by USAID to prevent gender-based violence against women and girls at the Galicia Hotel and Resort in Banani.
He said, "From prehistoric times or even 100 years ago, we have seen women being repressed because of men, unable to find their place. Now a lot has changed in our country. Every school in our village has 65% female students and 35% male students."
Discarding the notion that Begum Rokeya Sakhwat Hossain's husband Sakhawat Hossain played an instrumental role in her development as a pioneer for women's education, the minister said this is not accurate.
He said, "In fact, Sakhawat Hossain married Begum Rokeya as his second wife while he was ill, so that she could look after him. We now hear a counter-argument that Rokeya's career flourished after the death of her husband."
USAID Bangladesh Mission Director Derrick S Brown and Managing Director of Radio Swadhin Md Morshed Alam also spoke as special guests at the event, among others.
The closing day of the 16-day event also included an inter-university debate between Dhaka University Debating Society (Aparajoy Bangla) and Jahangirnagar Debating Society (Sangsoptok), where the former emerged as the winner. The Bangladesh Debate Federation assisted in organizing the debate.