On the eve of the International Rural Women Day (15th October), experts today urged to ensure equal rights for women in family income and decision-making process.
The demand came from a press conference titled ‘Ensure fair right of women to family income’ organized by the National Committee on International Rural Women's Day Celebrations.
Speakers also opined that, besides usual household work, women are involved in various unpaid work in agricultural, fisheries, forestry, livestock and various labor-intensive industries. However, due to the lack of financial value of these invisible labors, women are not properly recognized in the family and in the society.
Therefore, women’s opinion in the decision-making process is ignored and neglected. For the overall socio-economic development of the country, the legal recognition of women’s contribution must be ensured, the press conference organizers urged.
Organizers informed that, International Rural Women's Day will be celebrated in more than 40 districts. Like every year, the day is being celebrated this year too with various programs including rallies, seminars, human chains, fairs and awarding person contributing in different fields of rural women empowerment.
They also informed that, since 2000, in Bangladesh, various voluntary and development organizations (NGOs) have been celebrating rural women's day at local and national level with their own funding under the banner National Celebration Committee. It is to be mentioned that EquityBD works as secretariat of National Committee on International Rural Women's Day Celebrations.
The Press Conference was moderated by Ferdous Ara Rumee, Secretariat Coordinator of the National Committee on Rural Women's Day Celebrations, while Shamima Akhter, the President of the alliance, presented the keynote paper on the press conference.
Member of the National Committee Nahid Sultana, Masuda Faruque Ratna Executive Director of Gram Bikash Sohayok Songtha, Morzina Ahmed Executive Director of Disable Welfare Society, Rehana Begum of Bangladesh Krishok Fedaration, Ivan Ahmed Kotha of Socheton Somaj Seba Hizra Songha were also spoke at the occasion.
Shamima Akhter said, women are doing more household works than men in Bangladesh, in an average women’s more than 6 hours household's work are not getting any recognition. On the contrary, a man spends only one hour on such work. If women’s household work can be calculated in monetary, total value will be 87.2 percent of total GDP of Bangladesh.
According to the article 345 of the Bangladesh Labor Act 2006, wages of women and mele should be equal, but in the case of transplanting and processing of crops, men's daily wages is about where 300-600b taka, but women get only 350 taka. Though increasing women's participation in agriculture seems apparently women's empowerment, its main advantage is the long-lasting benefits of working with low wages.
Ferdous Ara Rumee said, along with household activities, rural women are involved with different kinds of activities like farming, fisheries and livestock. But since women’s invisible works like these don’t have any monetary value, they don’t have rights to make their own decision, they can’t take petrification in the family level decision naming process. To ensure true women empowerment, to ensure women’s rights in family and state level, invisible efforts of women must be recognized legally.
Nahid Sultana said, women are now not recognized as farmers even after making huge contributions to agriculture. Due to lack of recognition as farmer, they do not get any benefit from government initiatives taken for farmers. When these facilities are ensured, the contribution of women in agriculture will be increased.
Morzina Ahmed said, women's labor is not considered as a source of household income in rural agriculture, rather it is considered a source of reduction in overall expenditure in crop production. Because if a worker is employed, he will have to be paid, and it is not possible to make work by that labour at the will of the family. In this way, even women are playing a vital role in family income, there is no recognized of their contribution.
Masuda Faruque Ratna said, through the change of law, women's work, women’s unpaid labor should be recognized. This recognition will increase women’s social status as well as it will ensure their economic independence and justice.
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