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     Volume 7 Issue 12 | March 21, 2008 |

  Cover Story
  Food for Thought
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On the Cover Story 'Living Solo’
Society should redefine the position of a woman as an individual. Every human being should be able to make his/her own personal decisions in case of living, giving birth, caring for children, getting education, choice of marriage etc.
But it is frustrating that society plays a rather negative role when talking about such individualistic, privacy-seeking women, which ultimately make their independent existence difficult.
Financial solvency is the most effective weapon to overcome the troublesome surroundings in a non-violent, fair way where a congenial support system from the family eases up the sufferings of women living by themselves, the women who have dared to deviate from the conventional norm and left the precedence for the future women to exercise independence.
Amit Abdullah
Department Of Finance, DU


In our society women without support from men get little respect from other people and get harassed in various ways. Last week I was reading the article 'Living Solo' on SWM and wondering how true it was. When I walk down the road alone many people harass me at bazaars and bus stands. I do appreciate those women who live their own life independently and face all challenges with courage. It is important to live with family but circumstances may make it necessary for a woman to live by herself. It is our responsibility to establish our own rights to live independently. Many women are now earning their own living, but living independently is still frowned upon. Just celebrating International Women's Day one day a year is not good enough.
Mahzabeen Iqbal
BBA- 4th year
Stamford University, Bangladesh

Political Equality for Women
This is the 21st century. We must practice democracy and gender mainstreaming in the political process. I don't think increasing reserved seats in the parliament will increase self-respect for women. We are dreaming of a Bangladesh where women will fight for 300 parliamentary seats simultaneously with their quality in direct election. So, why are we crying just for one third? Moreover, one third doesn't mean equality. Equality only means fifty-fifty. I oppose the term 'patriarchal political system' as we're blessed with three times women prime ministers. A leader has to represent people at all levels. He or she has to be a visionary, responsive, participatory and much more.
Md. Nasir Uddin Laskar
Department of CSE, DU

Women in Student Politics
For more than the last two decades, student politics has been subjected to demoralisation by growing intolerance and rampant violence perpetrated by unscrupulous activists of most political parties'. Student fronts have made it more difficult for female students to participate actively in politics, let alone to make their meaningful presence at the policy-making level felt. If we have a look at the policy-making committees of student fronts, few women may be found which is really regrettable. I have hardly come across a female student leader declaring her party's stance on issues of political interest.
Universities are the playgrounds of brilliant minds who play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the country. In a time when the demand for meaningful representation of more women at the policy-making level of political parties and the parliament is gaining acceptance, the need for active participation of female students at different universities in politics has been reinforced. Breaking the barrier of discrimination against women in this arena, we can easily ensure enough qualified female leaders for working efficiently at the policy-making level side by side with their male counterparts.
Ahmad Ferdous Bin Alam
Department of CSE, DU

Preserving Purity
It is very disconcerting that most of the year we keep mum about purity of our mother tongue and only shout about it in February. Some people are abusing this language throughout the year. But we just ignore it. As a result these people think that they are correct and sometimes try to impose their self-made vocabulary on general people. And when these people are involved with the media there can only be disaster. The Djuice jargon is ridiculous and harmful for the new generation.
There is another group of people who try to use English as much as possible in their Bangla conversation. It becomes horrible when they use this kind of English vocabulary without knowing the pronunciation, even the meaning. I don't deny the importance of English as an international language. But I don't think this is the proper way to learn English. I personally believe such language can only disgrace us.
I don't see any deviation when dialect is used in a novel or a play. Because people justify this dialect on the context of the novel or the play. They don't consider this as a standard form and don't use in formal conversation. But when people on radio and television use dialect on formal conversation it is not acceptable at all. In our formal communication we have to maintain a standard format. Otherwise the language has a risk of losing its glory.
Jhalok Ronjan Talukdar
Dept of Social Work, SUST

Enough is Enough
I really think it's time to find some way of putting pressure on companies to stop clogging up the airwaves with misleading, and in some cases downright spurious claims for their products. Earlier, Fair and Lovely took great pains to assure us that if our skin tone was anything less than dead white, our families would be forever "burdened" with us, since we could never be successfully married off. Now, it's even worse! If we don't use damaging bleach-based products, we are told that we will be failures in every sphere, including the professional environment where we are henceforth going to be judged by our skin colour rather than our capabilities and intelligence. And such is the power of Fair and Lovely (or so we are told), that even a professional performer will only be able to ensure packed houses when she uses this cream, since her singing talents are clearly completely irrelevant!
Nor is there any lack of sexist commercials being hurled at us. Pran Foods can always be relied upon for such senseless messages, including brutally berating new brides for being unable to cook (once again, this flaw will of course be instantly corrected by the use of their product!) And if this kind of misleading sexist rubbish wasn't bad enough, Pran Foods has recently branched out into teaching children how to be badly behaved i.e. stealing a jar of chocolates from an elderly man, and harassing visitors to give them 3 takas to buy some super-small bag of chips.
So my suggestion is, that instead of using International Women's Day for companies to "wish women", and providing them with strange gifts effectively consisting of the company logo, we should instead develop a campaign against those who engage in shallow, sexist and downright stupid portrayals of women in the media!
Ena Zahir Islam
By email

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