Vol. 5 Num 195 Fri. December 10, 2004  

Ensure social security of women: PM

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday called on social workers, philanthropists, NGOs and other concerned quarters to supplement her government's programmes for ensuring social security and wellbeing of the womenfolk.

Speaking at the Begum Rokeya Day function, the PM assured that government cooperation would continue for those who will work sincerely and unselfishly for the welfare of the backward womenfolk.

"Massive participation of non-government organisations is essential alongside the government in the drive for development of women," she said.

Listing various development and socioeconomic programmes undertaken by the government, she said elderly and widow allowances have been increased along with increasing the number of beneficiaries.

Cells have been formed in each district and upazila for prevention of women and children repression, arrangement made for rehabilitation and medicare of acid-burnt women, and stringent laws have been made to deter women and children repression.

Khaleda was addressing the function organised at Osmani Memorial auditorium by Women and Children Affairs Ministry in observance of the Rokeya Day and distribution of the Begum Rokeya Padak 2004.

Begum Husna Banu Khanam, a teacher of Home Economics College, and Prof Dilara Chowdhury, a teacher of Jahangirnagar University, were awarded the Begum Rokeya Padak 2004, a national award, for their contributions to socioeconomic uplift of women, establishing women rights and spreading women education.

Khaleda gave way the award to the recipients at the function attended by Ministers, MPs, academics, representatives of various women organisations, professions and government officials.

The award carries a gold medal weighing 25 gram 18 karat and embossed with Begum Rokeya's image, Tk 10,000 and a certificate.

Women and Children Affairs Minister Khurshid Jahan Huq presided.

Prime minister said education is essential for empowerment and economic self-reliance of women.

Women are now working in many important positions, both in civil and uniformed services, she said.

"We have taken multifarious plans and reform programmes as per the international charter and protocol to protect women's rights," she added.

Recalling the invaluable contribution of Begum Rokeya to the awakening of women, Khaleda said even in a hostile situation back then, she (Rokeya) had struggled boldly for spreading women education and the message of freedom.

"This woman, born under a lucky star, will remain ever shining transcending in the domain of development of women," she observed.

Speaking briefly on the occasion, Begum Husna Banu Khanam, who had studied in Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Memorial School, said Rokeya would remain fresh in memory of the women community of this country for the education system she introduced for girls.

Professor Dilara Chowdhury said work of the present womenfolk should be geared towards realisation of the ideologies of Begum Rokeya in society.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia poses with the Begum Rokeya Award winners Begum Husna Banu Khanom and Professor Dr Dilara Chowdhury at Osmani Memorial auditorium in the city yesterday. PHOTO: PID