Op-ed: Only direct election can empower women in Bangladeshi politics

By Naznin Tithi, 10 October
photo credit: pixabay
photo credit: pixabay
We have been advocating for holding direct elections for the reserved seats for women for many years. Increasing the number of reserved seats and restructuring the constituencies are also among our demands. But to our astonishment, the draft bill was approved by the cabinet, on January 29, 2018, with a provision to extend the tenure of the 50 reserved seats for 25 more years. This was done without any discussion on the issue in parliament or any other platforms. And later, on July 8, the bill was passed in parliament. The manner in which this has been passed, without any regard for the legitimate demands for reforms in the bill, is really surprising. [ . . . ] Against this backdrop, the passing of the 17th amendment to the Constitution came as a shock to us as this is contradictory to the ideals of women's political empowerment. It also contradicts the promises made by the government as well as the National Women Development Policy and the CEDAW convention. Instead of empowering women, this law will further weaken the process of women's political empowerment. Women in the reserved seats will become further marginalised as they will not have any specific roles and responsibilities. They won't be able to build up their own constituencies without participating in direct elections.
Read the full article here: The Daily Star

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