Still a distant dream | The Daily Star
01:41 AM, February 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:42 AM, February 23, 2018


Still a distant dream

The country's registered political parties are struggling to keep 33 percent of their committee positions reserved for women by 2020 in line with the conditions outlined during their registration with the Election Commission (EC).

This frustrating scenario came in the limelight when 37 political parties, out of 40, submitted their progress reports to the EC.

Among the major political parties, Awami League (AL) has so far filled 19 percent of all committee positions with women in the last nine years while BNP 15 percent and Jatiya Party 20 percent.

As per the Article 90B of the Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972, a registered political party will have to fix the goal of reserving at least 33 percent of all committee positions for women, including the central committee, and successively achieving this goal by 2020.

While being registered with the EC first in 2008 during the two-year caretaker government, the political parties promised to achieve the goal.

In June 2017, the EC first sent letters to 40 parties requesting them to place their progress reports. The EC has recently prepared a report compiling the information received from the political parties.

All the parties, except for Gono Forum, Oikyabodha Nagorik Andolan and Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, submitted their progress reports within the extended deadline that expired in last November.

Only Gono Front claimed that they have ensured 33 percent of the committee positions for women.

EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said they had received progress reports from 37 parties while the remaining others sought more time.

The Commission gathered the information from the political parties to know the latest condition of women representation in their committees as the deadline is almost near, he added.

As per the EC's compiled report, AL has 15 women in its 81-member central working committee. Besides, the party has 16 female lawmakers who were directly elected and 42 lawmakers from reserved seats for women in parliament.

BNP said the percentage of women in all committees is 15, but they did not elaborate further.

National People's Party has 20 percent women in its central committee, while Ganatantrik Party has 15 percent, Jatiya Ganatantrik Party (Jagpa) has 12 percent, Bangladesh Muslim League has six percent and Bangladesh Islami Front has one percent women.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said they did not get expected response in this regard, but their efforts are on to fulfill the condition. Islami Andolan Bangladesh said they have over 400 committees and changed its organisational charter to keep women in its committees. Most of the remaining parties did not mention specific figure in this regard but hoped that they will be able to fulfill the condition by 2020.

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