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On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2016

Update: 2016-03-08 08:48:00
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2016

Today is International Women’s Day and the theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

The 2030 Agenda comprises 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals which were agreed by world leaders in 2015. "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls' is the Goal 5 of SDG.

However, Bangladesh made commendable progress in achieving MDGS and the Sustainable Development Goals aims finish the job that the Millennium Development Goals started. Achievement of Bangladesh is tremendous, particularly in achieving goal related to education. 

In education, the gender parity is strongly tilted in favor of girls. Girls are participating more, and better, in primary education; for instance, more of them are reaching grade 5.

Despite making all the progresses, World Bank estimated 4.9 million Bangladeshi children ages 5 to 15 are engaged in child labor, making it difficult to break the cycle of poverty that contributes to one of the lowest adult literacy rates in Southeast Asia.

Many of those working children are employed in household work and adolescent girls serving as domestic help often become victim of neglect and abuse.

As appeared in Banglanews, police accepted a formal complaint against employer, his wife and son for allegedly murdering a domestic help. Locals and family members of the deceased teen house help laid siege to Kafrul Police Station and NAM Garden Officers' Quarters at Mirpur on March 7, 2016. Although police registered an unnatural death initially, they later accepted a supplementary complaint from the father of deceased.

Many sensational torture incidents of child domestic workers got published in newspapers, there were still many more which did not come out. Many newspaper readers would recollect an incident that took place in the house of a judicial magistrate in Satkhira.

Despite having reported in newspapers, perpetrators hardly get punished and more number of child domestic workers are becoming victim of neglect and abuse. Would there be a pledge today to end miseries of child domestic help?

Despite significant progress, there are challenges in eradicating child marriage. It remains very high here compared to other countries in the region. Controversy renewed when the draft for Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2014 was made.

It appeared that the government was considering to lax legal ages of marriage. Government must set 18 as the minimum age for marriage to comply with international prohibitions against child marriage.

Can this commitment be made today?
Oli Md. Abdullah Chowdhury is a human rights worker

BDST: 1951 HRS, MAR 08, 2016

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