Many women in Bangladesh have gained self-dependence, but the country is far from achieving gender equality, which, according to experts, is important for consistency in social and economic development.
Marriages of girl children and violence against women are on the rise amid the pandemic. At the same time, new opportunities have come up leading to an increase in women entrepreneurship, said Salina Pervez, joint project director of the Access to Information (a2i) programme, at a virtual discussion on "Women in digital: Employment & entrepreneurship" on Monday.
Women rights and economic emancipation complement each other, and both are imperative for the country's development, she said at the event organised by a2i to mark International Women's Day 2021.
Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister of the ICT Division, who was present as the chief guest, said women's rights would have to be ensured everywhere -- in their families, neighbourhoods, educational institutions and social and public spaces.
Awareness and moral education can usher in a positive mindset towards women, he said.
As a special guest of the programme, Benazir Ahmed, inspector general of Bangladesh Police, said women were often harassed on digital platforms but they did not want to complain about it, which was why police had launched all-women services.
"We work with law and will extend all-out support" dealing with instances of harassment, he said, adding that the police were working to prevent cyber crimes against women.
Shoko Ishikawa, country representative of UN Women, said there had been remarkable progress worldwide and in Bangladesh in women's development.
The Bangladesh government made commendable moves for women's education. Moreover, the national action plan was made to address domestic violence against women and child marriage, Ishikawa said.
"I think women's economic empowerment should be focused on to enforce gender equality," said Sonia Bashir Kabir, founder of SBK Tech Ventures and SBK Foundation.
Nihad Kabir, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka, said women were discouraged to take on science, engineering and medicine from their school life.
Therefore, changes should begin at this stage, she said, adding that women should get more policy support in entrepreneurship and skill development.