Pushing for a more equal world

Afroza Akter Dipa
Thursday, October 12th, 2017


In today’s society, things have changed in many ways for women, with more and more girls joining outside jobs and launching their own business ventures. They are also joining politics braving all odds and obstacles, and making their marks. Even then, the path ahead to establish a more equal world for women looks to be bumpy.


With a hope for a more equal world where women will have access to all resources and will be represented in decision-making positions on equal basis with their male counterparts, Zonta District 25 held its 14th Biennial District Conference in Dhaka.


The three-day conference of Zonta District 25, comprising of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, which is working to empower women worldwide through advocacy and service, started on Friday with the theme ‘Dare to Dream’ and concluded on Sunday.


Members of Dhaka Club I, Club II, Club III, Greater Dhaka and Chittagong hosted this year’s biennial conference. At the closing ceremony, the invited guests and the Zonta members from home and abroad stressed the need for ensuring equal rights of women and their empowerment in every sector.


“In order to achieve gender equality, we have to engage the womenfolk – who account for half of the population of the world – in the mainstream of development,” said State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki at the closing ceremony of the conference.


She urged all to end all forms of violence against women lauding Zonta for their endeavours to empower women through service and advocacy adding that women are now getting self-reliant and becoming the earning members of their families.


Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, who graced the event as the chief guest, said women’s equal participation in every sector will have to be ensured.


He also said time has come to demand 50 percent of parliamentary seats not reserved but allocated for the women so that they can compete in election and get elected. Rizvi also called for giving half of the share of every position, including in business sector, to women.


Zonta District 25 Governor Fahmida Karim said Zonta International founded in 1919 is a global organisation of executive and professionals working together to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy in 66 countries of the world with 30,000 members.


She said the aim of the Zonta is to achieve the Zonta goals – gender equality, empowerment of women, ending gender-based violence against women and girls and human trafficking and others. Terming Zonta a leading advocate for women rights, Fahmida said its main objective is to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women.


In the three-day conference, Zonta organised many programmes, including workshop on how to stop harmful practice to women at public place, workplace and home, the governor said, adding that the recommendations of the workshop will help them take further actions against these crimes.


From the conference, Fahmida Karim announced that Zonta will soon enhance its support to Rohingya women, girls and children and especially will look after the sanitation of them.


Zonta International Representative and Board Liaison and Director Hsin-Hsin Yang also stressed the need for empowering women to make the world more equal and better.


At the closing session of the conference, Zonta honoured Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir and Zonta District Foundation Ambassador Dilruba Ahmed with the lifetime achievement awards for their outstanding contributions to developing the women and the underprivileged people while at the inaugural ceremony, it honoured Shamsul Bari and Indira Sepkota with the lifetime achievement awards for their efforts to make the women empowered.


The Zonta District 25 conference was inaugurated (on Friday) stressing the need for ending all forms of discrimination or injustice against women.  State Minster for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam inaugurated the conference. In the inaugural speech, the junior minister said, “Despite many success stories, we cannot ignore the fact that women still face several constraints in society and we are yet to be free from violence against women.”


The State Minister said empowering women is a catalyst to country’s economic growth and success. “Without empowering the half of the total population, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be hard to achieve,” he said adding that women of the country are now shining in every sector breaking all the stereotypes.


He also said government is providing skills development training to facilitate self-employment of women. “We aim to ensure 40 percent participation of women in every sector by 2021 and 50 percent by 2030.”


Zonta District Foundation Ambassador Dilruba Ahmed said Zonta has already donated US$ 15.5 million to 37 countries benefiting women and girls from 1923 to 2016.


Zonta District 25 also elected the new board for the next biennium in the conference.


Zonta member Nilufar Zafarullah, MP, ZI Membership Committee Chair Winnie Teoh, Sri Lanka District 25 Governor Shahnaz Nathani, Zonta International Representative & Board Liaison and Director Hsin-Hsin Yang and Zonta Member Gallery Cosmos Managing Director Tehmina Enayet were, among other Zonta members from home and abroad, present.

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