‘Without women poverty alleviation not possible’

World Bank addressed the issue of violence against women for the first time during the conference


Rights activists, politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and lawmakers on Tuesday said achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), particularly eradicating poverty by 2030, would not be possible if all sectors do not engage women in their development processes.

They also said overlooking violence against women, and assuming it is unrelated to other formal issues, such as poverty and lack of education, would only hinder global development moving forward.

The speakers made the remarks at the second day of a conference titled “Joining forces to overcome violence against women,” which was jointly organised by World Bank and Oxfam International, and held at Soaltee Crowne Plaza Auditorium in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The World Bank addressed the issue of violence against women for the first time during the conference. Up until this point, the bank focused mainly on formal and development issues such as infrastructure, health and education. However, the WB recently published a report on gender equity.

CEO of Oxfam India Nisha Agrarwal said: “We planned the MDGs and often talked about how we can eradicate poverty by 2030. We often point out that a billion people are living below the poverty line. But, achieving the MDGs is not possible if we overlook violence against women (VAW). Unfortunately, we do not address this like poverty, although the same number of women, a billion, are suffering from violence around the world.”

Speaking at a session titled “Engaging the public and private sectors to address the complexity of VAW,” speakers from different countries pointed out the dire scenario of women’s current financial situation and opportunities in different sectors.

It has been proved that if women are provided with opportunities, they can not only change their family’s condition, but also can contribute to the nation’s economy more that the men do, due to the “the natural tendency of savings and motherly characteristics of women,” the speakers said.

Pointing out achievements by Bangladeshi women and female empowerment in the country, Secretary from the Bangladesh Information and Communication Technology Ministry, Nazrul Islam Khan, observed that, for an ideal scenario, both economic and information empowerment is needed by Bangladeshi women.

He later told the Dhaka Tribune: “Only 6% of women in Bangladesh are working as freelancers while the global average number of women as freelancers in the IT sector is 66%.”

Speakers also said only social efforts are not enough; collective and combined steps from family, society, the nation and the international community are needed to address and eliminate such violence, which is still deeply rooted in society.

Researchers said violence against women can no longer be treated as a personal problem, and a combined effort from all quarters is needed to combat such acts of violence in this region.

Three youth groups were awarded crests and certificatesfor introducing new technology, such as mobile and online applications, designed specifically to combat violence against women.

Tahseen Sayed, country manager of WB Nepal; Justice Yasmin Abbasey of Federal Ombudsman for Protection Against Harassment of Women at Workplace, Pakistan; former minister of gender and family, Maldives, Aneesa Ahmed and Bangladesh lawmaker, Shahin Monowara Haque, among others, spoke at the conference.

Source: Dhaka Tribune