Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged all to help the government implement National Women Development Policy for the welfare of women.
She said that a certain quarter “trading on religion” has been trying to mislead people by misinterpreting the women development policy, although Islam as a religion never approves inequality between man and woman.
Hasina made the remarks while formally laying the foundation of the permanent campus of Asian University for Women (AUW) in the port city yesterday afternoon.
The premier also urged the women community as well as conscious citizens of the country to thwart the evil designs of the vested quarters.
The government is fully committed to provide all-out support for women empowerment in the country, she said, adding that at present, education particularly for girls is a priority of the government.
The PM mentioned that the present government has made education free for girls up to class XII, and offers stipends for girls in rural secondary schools.
“Our efforts have been successful in removing gender disparity in primary and secondary schools. We are now planning to provide free education for girls up to degree level,” Hasina said.
The prime minister said she firmly believed that the political-economic empowerment is a prerequisite for the development of women.
“They [women] are encouraged to participate in politics and administration, and are recruited in all professions including the armed services,” she said.
The PM hoped that the girl students, who will be coming out of this university, would emerge as modern, progressive and matured women, with full of self-confidence, and they would be ready to face challenges of an ever changing complex world.
The government has donated lands to the AUW worth $ 80 million. This is the first time in the country that the government made such donation to a private university.
Hasina hoped that all the Asian countries and the World Bank would take this contribution of Bangladesh into serious consideration, and come forth with their own financial support to enable the university to have its own campus with buildings as soon as possible.
She also assured that the government would extend all-out cooperation to the AUW authority whenever required.
Chancellor of the university Cherie Blair, also the former UK first lady, presided over the function.
Blair said that she was very much excited to have the official duty for the AUW and also thanked the prime minister for her utmost cooperation towards the development of the university.
The AUW would be a good example of regional cooperation across the world, she said, adding that Bangladesh has emerged as the bridge between the South Asian and Asean countries.
Some businessmen of Chittagong gave several cheques to the prime minister worth Tk 2 crore as donation to the AUW. Hasina handed over the cheques to the chancellor.
The function was also addressed, among others, by Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and World Bank Group Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Acting Vice Chancellor of the university Kamal Ahmed gave the vote of thanks.
Later, Hasina unveiled the plaque of the foundation stone of AUW, and offered munajat.
The university is going to have its permanent campus constructed in the next two years on an area of 130 acres of land allotted by the government.