Democracy International (DI) organised the event titled ‘Advancing Women’s Leadership in Elections’ at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday, 2 August, 2023.
Courtesy of Democracy International

Although women strive equally in the field, men remain ahead in the race to get party nomination in elections. Men are highlighted more in the news of election campaigns tooo.

The major obstacles for women to get nomination in election are men, muscle and money. Urging more women to be given nomination in the upcoming national election, these observations were raised in a discussion to exchange views.

Democracy International (DI) organised the event titled ‘Advancing Women’s Leadership in Elections’ at a hotel in the capital this Wednesday. Speakers at the event also proposed a bill to pass a law in the national parliament to help women with electoral expenses in future.

Speaker of the national parliament, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury attended the event as chief guest. She said that women just being elected will not be enough, a conducive environment is required for them have an impact. But no one’s going to create that environment for them. Women themselves have to create that environment.

The speaker said that men will not help by giving up their seats. Voters should be reached all the time, and not just before the election. The confidence to help the party win has to be developed. She also urged the political parties to play an even more active role to increase women’s nomination.

Despite women having the qualifications, men are the ones who are proritised when it comes to nominations and campaigns, commented Shamima Akhter Khanam, member of parliament for Awami League from the reserved seat.

Speaker of the national parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury speaks at a discussion titled 'Advancing Women's Leadership in Elections' in a hotel at the capital on Wednesday.
courtesy of Democracy International

Another member of parliament for Awami League from the reserved seat, Habiba Rahman Khan said that women's’ movement in the constitutional area is not less than that of men. But, only the male names get massive promotion. Even if women political workers are in better positions at the field level, that information never reaches the higher level of authorities in the party.

Let the media not only take the names of the brothers. A sister, who’s capable should also be written about, said Kazi Kaniz Sultana. Aroma Dutta regretted saying that women’s efforts do not get represented.

Jatiya Party’s Sherifa Kader said if the party thinks one should be given nomination it will, no instigation is required for that.

Awami League’s Adiba Anjum Mita, Umme Fatema Nazma Begum, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal’s Afroza Haque and Jatiya Party’s Rowshan Ara Mannan also spoke at the time.

As a representative of the media, senior reporter at Daily Ittefaq, Rabeya Baby said that the media plays a role where the political parties can run the country properly by maintaining democracy.

While delivering the welcome speech, Democracy International’s chief of party, Dana L Olds said that women in Bangladesh have to overcome many obstacles in the election. There are three issues that have the greatest impact in this case, she commented. These obstacles are men, muscle power and money.

Among others, Sonjai Reynolds-Cooper, acting deputy-mission director of American donor agency, USAID also spoke at the event while, Democracy International director Lipika Biswas moderated it.

With mention to the fact that there are only 22 directly elected women parliamentarians in the national parliament except for the 50 reserved seats, a call was made to ensure 33 per cent female representation in the political parties.