Gender parity: Bangladesh should aim to do even better

The Prothom Alo report titled 'Economic indicators take a downturn' published in the first week of this month is certain to leave people who care for the country deeply concerned. The report said that all the economic indicators except remittance had taken a downturn in the recent times.

The report said there was no growth in export revenue and import while revenue deficit was also quite alarming. Despite the introduction of a new law, there has been no increase in VAT collection either. With the fall in revenue, the government is turning more and more towards borrowing. Private investment has been at a standstill for several years.

Besides poor economic indicators, the country also suffers from lack of good governance and increased corruption.

However, the World Economic Forum has brought some good news. Their latest report says that Bangladesh has advanced 41 places in the last 14 years. Among the 153 countries, Bangladesh is now 50th in terms of gender parity, which puts them first in South Asia.

The report titled ‘Global Gender Gap Report-2020’ revealed the state of gender equality in 153 countries across the world. The report says there are three South Asian countries among the top 10 that have been run by a female leader in the past 50 years.

And Bangladesh is at the top of the list, both globally and in South Asia. It shows Bangladesh is the only country to run under more female leaders than their male counterparts. In Bangladesh, male leaders have ruled for 24.4 years while the female leaders have ruled for 25.6 years and counting.

According to the report, Bangladesh is the only country from South Asia to be among the top 100 countries in the gender equality index this year, with an overall score of 0.726. In 2006, Bangladesh became 91st with a score of 0.627.

The World Economic Forum considered four factors while preparing the index. They are -- access and participation of women in economic activities, access to education, access to health and women's participation in politics. A person becomes truly empowered when he or she gets the above four opportunities. The women in the country are doing well in all these four sectors, which is a very positive sign. The girl children are also now getting more opportunities to go to the school.

However, the government should not be complacent. A large number of people still see girls as inefficient, less capable , weak and dependent on family. On the other hand, the men are considered as earning, brave and capable of every kind of work. This conventional idea has begun to perish. Many initiatives, both public and private, have contributed to this. This has to continue. More of such initiatives are required to accelerate the advancement.