On March 8, 2014, the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF) and The Hunger Project-Bangladesh jointly celebrated International Women’s Day in 354 locations throughout Bangladesh. There was a central event organized in Dhaka followed by a large rally, discussion meeting, awards and cultural program.
The rally was opened by Ms. Rasheda K. Chowdhury, Ex- Advisor, Caretaker Government of Bangladesh and Executive Director, Gono Shakkhorata Ovijan (CAMP) at the National Museum, Shahbagh compound.
A colorful, energetic kilometer- long procession, led by women and girls in traditional apparel holding a banner, included approximately 1,800 men, women, girls and boys from 56 organizations and institutions, who waved placards demanding “Stop violence against women.” Particpants called for concrete change in government policy such as the implementation of the National Women Development Policy or the CEDAW Charter.
After the rally, a meeting was held with guests of honor including Chief guest Dr. Rownaq Jahan, political scientist, Nasima Akhter Joly, Secretary, National Girl Child Advocacy Forum (NGCAF) and Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, THP-Bangladesh Country Director and President of National Girl Child Advocacy Forum.
The central theme of the discussion was “equality for women is progress for all.” Attendees expressed their viewpoints on the central theme and their desire for equal rights for women and girl children in all spheres of society.
In her welcome address, Nasima Akhter Joly, promised equality for women in every sphere in the near future. She said, “Women are so hard working and self confident now, they will soon reach their destination.” The chief guest Dr. Rownaq Jahan exclaimed that, “We need to raise the strong voice of women to uphold their dignity and equality.”
Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar chaired the discussion meeting and said in his presidential address that The Hunger Project and the Bangladeshi people are fully committed to gender equality and that the long-held patriarchal mentality must change right now.
At the awards ceremony, the National Girl Child Advocacy Forum honored two distinguished women for their significant expertise and achievements in respective fields: Rowshan Ara Begum, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Criminal Investigation Department in the Bangladesh police; and Ms. Rehana Parvin, who obtained the Bronze Medal as a player who participated in the 10th South Asian Federation (SAF) Games Women Kabadi Competition held in Sri Lanka in 2006.
Rowsahan Ara Begum addressed the audience and said “We need to give value and attention to women’s contribution in every sphere of society.” She said that, “International Women’s Day is a day to evaluate our achievements and make us more confident and self-reliant.”
When accepting her award, Ms. Rehana Parvin explained that her dream is for women to be everywhere, even in a football match of the World Cup.
The program ended with a beautiful Bangladeshi cultural demonstration.
The events in Bangladesh were covered by major broadcasting channels, like ATN Bangla, Channel eye, Boishakhi TV, Shomoy TV, Desh TV, SA TV and Jamuna TV. Read more about Bangladesh’s celebration.