Half of the populations of our country are women. So women development is the precondition of national development. There should have equal opportunity and equal rights for women to ensure national development. In our constitution through several articles the equal rights and opportunity of both men and women have been established. It is a harsh reality that it needed 40 long years after its independence to come up with a policy guideline to ensure the rights of its women. The women development policy has created a great scope for the advancement of women empowerment. The national women development policy has ensured women’s rights in formulation and implementation of economic policies. 2. Background
The National Women Development Policy (NWDP) was first formulated in 1997 by the then Awami League government. But it was not possible for the then government to implement the policy. The Awami league government has also taken two years to turn their words into action, as reinstating the 1997 women policy was one of the electoral manifesto of the current government.In 2004, the then BNP Jammaat led government approved another women development policy deleting or replacing phrases like ‘equal right’, ‘equal and full participation’, “right to land”, “inheritance” and ‘property’, with ‘constitutional right’, ‘preference’ and ‘greater participation’. In 2008, the then caretaker government announced the women development policy legalizing women’s equal rights, including property rights, which were opposed by a section of Islamic clerics. The present policy is the revival of 1997 women development policy, to the fulfillment of an election pledge by Awami League. 3. Development planning and women
In the first five year (1973-1978) program had been taken to rehabilitate the women. For the first time emphasis was given on women development. The issues on which importance were given includes women education, health and family planning, social welfare development women empowerment. Different programs were taken on the basis of foreign fund. 1972 the then government established women rehabilitation board for women development. In the second five year plan (1978-1980) several programs were taken to empower women and to increase their capability. Same programs had been taken in the third five year plan (1985-1990). In the forth five year plan (1990-1995) women are considered as a part of socio-economic development several programs has been taken to introduce them in the main development activity. Followings issues are given much importance for women development: * Education
* Ensure women participation in agriculture trade and commerce * Eliminate poverty
* Provide legal assistance to women etc.
In the fifth five year plan much importance has given on those issues. Government has ratified CEDAW charter, Beijing Platform for Action and government has also promised to implement national plan for women development. 4. World perspective and Bangladesh
Bangladesh actively participated in the first world women conference, Mexico in 1975. So women development is considered as an international issue. The United National (UN) declared the year 1975 as the ‘women year’, for the achievement of socio-economic, political development and empowerment of women. The second women conference was held Copenhagen in 1980. The conference indentified three broad goals such as education, health and employment. The third world women conference was held in Kenya, 1985. The common wealth formulated ‘Gender and Development’ program in 1995. Bangladesh has ratified the ‘Beijing Declaration’. It was also promised to implement the development planning for women development. 5. Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women To eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in socio-economic sphere of life the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was...
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