Cities all over the country need day care center facilities as the number of working women is on the rise, discussants at a roundtable observed on Sunday.
The speakers also termed the need to ensure safety of women and children as a part of good governance in any city.
Prothom Alo, in association with UNICEF and the planning commission’s General Economics Division (GED), organised the roundtable on ‘women and child-friendly cities and good governance’ in Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban.
Several speakers condemned the recent rise in abuse of women and children in cities and said a change in mindset was required as well as changes in the education curriculum.
Emphasising the importance of making the cities women and child friendly, Gazipur city corporation mayor Jahangir Alam said, “Constructing skyscrapers alone doesn’t guarantee urbanisation. A city or society can’t be ideal if it can’t ensure physical and mental wellbeing of women and children.”
“We must create a city where all can live without any fear,” he added.
GED member and senior secretary Shamsul Alam said the private sector should come out to set up more day care centers and the number of professionally trained day care workers should be increased.
He also said that the government is planning to turn river embankments in the cities into walkways so that citizens can have more open space to breath.
Former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) chairman Nazrul Islam urged the representatives of cities to plan development projects along with the the people and civil society.
“People should be at the centre of any development,” he added.
Power and Participation Research Center’s (PPRC) executive chairman Hussain Zillur Rahman said that the cities of Bangladesh have developed but the living standards have not.
He said that government alone cannot ensure good governance and civil society must also share the responsibility.
BUET’s professor of urban and regional planning department Ishrat Islam said open spaces in Dhaka city should be used in more efficient ways to make the city livable.
Policy Research Institute’s director Sarwar Jahan called for empowering local representatives and said they are currently totally controlled by various government bodies.
UNICEF’s social policy specialist Hasina Begum said that lack of coordination among different authorities and unaccountability should be checked to build cities more citizen-friendly.
Agreeing that coordination is a challenge, planning commission’s senior assistant chief Mahbubul Alam Siddiki said, “According to a study, urban population was 55 million in 2015 which will increase to 81 million in 2029. We must face the obstacles with coordinated efforts.”
Department for International Development’s (DFID) social development adviser Anowarul Haque, UNDP’s head of poverty and urbanization Ashekur Rahman, UN Habitat’s senior programme coordinator Md Sohel Rana and PPRC’s research associate and urban poverty study coordinator Umama Zillur, among others, spoke at the roundtable.
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum moderated the session.