Speakers at Bangladesh Mahila Parishad webinar: Publish gender budget report

Speakers at a post-budget webinar urged the government to publish the gender budget report during the final release of the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022 and take the necessary initiatives to ensure women empowerment and gender equality by allocating specific budget for women and taking necessary work plans in the development programmes.

They made the demand at a post-budget webinar organised by Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) yesterday.

Jahangirnagar University Prof Dr Sharmind Neelormi, also a member of BMP’s central committee, presented the keynote at the webinar. She said although the gender budget report was published in the 2019-2020 budget, considering the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not formulated in the last year’s budget. The same thing has happened this year, and it will not be possible to know what benefits will be available for women from development projects. The allocation in the budget should be kept in check so that it is spent for the betterment of women, she said.

Prof Neelormi also stressed the distribution of more agriculture cards to the female farmers and urged the Department of Agricultural Extension to give more attention to female farmers.

Dhaka University Economics Prof Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, also the research director of South Asian Network on Economic Modelling (Sanem) said the imposition of tax on e-commerce and mobile banking-based services will have a negative impact on women entrepreneurs working from home. To make the gender budget successful, emphasis should be given in preparing gender-segregated data, creating gender-sensitive structures, and ensuring monitoring and evaluation of the gender budget, she said.

Prof Bidisha also demanded providing low-interest loans or interest-free one-time financial assistance to women who have lost their jobs in the pandemic.

Bangladesh Development Research Institute (BIDS) senior research fellow Nazneen Ahmed said even if the gender budget is not published as a book, a brief record of the progress of the projects should be published for the development of women and prevention of violence against them.

BMP president Dr Fauzia Moslem urged the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to be more proactive in preventing gender-based violence and called upon the Ministry of Education to work in a more coordinated manner to curb girls’ dropout rate and prevent child marriage.

Speakers also said although the price of sanitary napkins has been reduced, still marginalised women require those at a subsidised price, which can be provided through public-private partnerships. They also said priority should be given to organisations that are working on combatting gender-based violence, ensure skill development training for transgender people, and children under school feeding programmes of the government must receive dry foods to meet their nutrition demands.

The event was moderated by BMP central committee vice-president Rekha Chowdhury, also its acting movement secretary.

The Webinar has been broadcasted live through their official Facebook page.

CLICK HERE to see the recorded video.

News source: The Daily Star

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