Gono Bishwabidyalay, Gonoshasthaya Kendra, Gonoshasthaya Samaj Vittik Medical College and Gonosasthyo Pharmaceuticals Limited hold a rally at the university at Savar in Dhaka on Monday marking International Women’ Day. — Press release

International Women’s Day was celebrated in the country as elsewhere in the world with government and non-government institutions and organisations calling for an end to discrimination, violence against women and creating an inclusive and gender-equal world.

Different government and non-government institutions, political and rights organisations observed the day across the country through various programmes, including processions, rallies and discussions.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’.

Amrai Pari Paribarik Nirjaton Protirodh Jote, to mark the day, organised ‘Oath to break darkness’ at central Shaheed Minar in the capital one minute past midnight on Sunday while they lit candles and activists from different areas joined the programme online.

The Jote chairperson Sultana Kamal said that the country made advancement in women empowerment but still there were huge impediments on the way to women’s equality and empowerment.

Besides, she said, different discriminatory laws, especially the Digital Security Act, had been contributing to an increase in violation of women’s rights and human rights.

At a brief rally before bringing out a procession by Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s women wing Jatiyatabadi Mahila Dal, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the women of the country were  being seriously repressed in the country as the government ‘usurped power by snatching people’s rights.’

Samajtantrik Mahila Forum, in a rally in front of the National Press Club in the capital, urged to continue the struggle for equal rights for women, stop of violence against women, equal wages for men and women for same works and the implementation of Domestic Worker Protection Policy.  

Bangladesh Confederation of Labour, in a human chain at the same venue, demanded that Bangladesh should sign the ILO Convention 190 for equality of men and women.

The Dhaka Reporters Unity on Monday inaugurated a three-day programme to mark the day by bringing out a procession and holding a brief discussion.

The Reporters Unity will organise a discussion and honour six female journalists today while speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury will present as the chief guest.

Female garment workers demanded six months of maternity leave for garment workers and an anti-harassment law in each factory to stop sexual abuse at separate programmes organised by different labour rights organisations in front of National Press Club.

Rights organisation Ain O Salish Kendra held a discussion at its Lalmatia office in Dhaka to mark the day.

Transparency International Bangladesh in a press release called upon the government to ensure measures to achieve gender equality by ensuring women empowerment and women leadership for sustainable development and good governance.

Non-government organisation VOICE organised a seminar at its centre in the capital on Monday to celebrate the day with a call to include women in the decision-making process.

The Office of Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, UN Women, World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, and BRAC jointly organized a discussion at Women’s Market of Camp-5 at Kutupalong in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar district on Monday to mark the day

Speakers at the discussion said that ensuring the safety of Rohingya women was the main challenge for them, said a BRAC press release.

The day was observed in all other districts, according to reports received from the districts.

Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and all other private radio and television channels aired special programmes, while newspapers published supplements highlighting the significance of the day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

After the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909 in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually.

After women’s suffrage received an official nod in Soviet Russia in 1917, the March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

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