Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has laid emphasis on the integration of women in decision-making processes, saying that it is important to have them in leadership teams to reflect on solutions and benefit from their experiences and perspective.
"Women are disproportionately affected during crises. It is, therefore, important to integrate women in decision-making for finding an effective solution to crises," she said.
Sheikh Hasina noted that women are shining in each and every sector, breaking all stereotypes and showing indomitable courage and leadership skills.
The premier made the remarks while addressing a "High Level Meeting of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders Convened by the President of the General Assembly Csaba Korösi" on 20 September at Trusteeship Council in the United Nations Headquarters.
The theme of this year's conference is "Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today's Interlinked Challenges".
Sheikh Hasina strongly felt that it was high time to utilise the network (UNGA Platform of Women Leaders) to share views on tackling the complex global challenges and bring positive outcomes not only for their respective countries but also for mankind.
From the point of view of Bangladesh, the premier said, "They look forward to continue participating in the UN's efforts to encourage women leadership globally."
She highlighted three points on localising the advisory board on gender equality, nurturing and supporting the women-led civil society organisations with sufficient political and financial means and convening a Leaders' Summit to reinforce common agenda for gender equality.
In her first point, Sheikh Hasina recommend for founding the advisory board on gender equality. "This now needs to be localised. We need gender champions at all levels, especially at the grass-root level, and we can lead by example."
Besides, women-led civil society organisations need to be nurtured and supported with sufficient political and financial means, she said in her second point, adding that UN has an important role in supporting such efforts.
Finally, she invited all to convene a Leaders' Summit to reinforce their common agenda for gender equality. "All leaders – not just us - should join and present concrete commitments for advancing gender equality and women empowerment."
Talking about Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken various steps to empower women and girls, to secure their legal protections and creating new ways for them to attain financial freedom.
To this end, she said that Bangladesh substantially achieved Goal three of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by ensuring gender parity in primary and secondary education.
"We are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Gender equality and empowering women," she added.
She also mentioned that about 27% of the national budget is allocated for women's social and economic empowerment activities.
In the political spectrum, the premier said, Bangladesh has ensured representation of women in all levels, from the top to the lowest tier of government. "We are bringing our women in the forefront of all economic activities."
Encouraging women entrepreneurship is a key policy goal of her government, she said, adding, "We've taken specific policy actions, such as, fostering a gender-neutral legal framework for business ensuring equal access to finance for female and male entrepreneurs."
She said Bangladesh central bank is providing collateral-free loan up to Tk2.5 million to the women entrepreneurs.
The head of government mentioned that 15% funds of the refinancing scheme, 10% industrial plots and 10% small entrepreneur funds are allocated for women.
"Every bank and non-bank financial institutions have dedicated desk for women entrepreneurs," she said.
She also said that over four million women are employed in the readymade garments industry, while some 35% of the country's women have their bank account and women's contribution to the GDP growth is 34%.
"We aim at ensuring 40% participation of women in every sector by 2021 and 50% by 2030," she added.