Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said that our country’s 'meaningful progress' is not possible leaving out the women, the half of the total population, from the development process.
"No nation could witness meaningful development leaving out its one segment ... so we want to move forward taking with all sections of the society," she said.
The prime minister said this when a six-member delegation of US-based Democracy International led by Glenn Cowan met her at her parliament office this morning.
After the meeting, press secretary of the prime minister Ihsanul Karim briefed the reporters.
Democracy International Inc, a US-based organisation operating in more than 40 countries, advises and assists, on behalf of governments, ministries and NGOs in democracy and governance projects, such as conducting of elections, election monitoring and building of multiparty systems.
While talking about democratic process, Hasina mentioned that her party, Bangladesh Awami League, struggled for long 21 years to restore democracy.
"The country witnessed military or quasi-military rules for 21 years after the assassination of Bangabandhu," she said.
The prime minister also said her party has been formulating policies on various issues through holding discussions, seminars and dialogues.
Hasina added that the ruling Awami League has founded its research wing -- Centre for Research and Information (CRI) -- to conduct research on different issues.
She noted that the BNP-Jamaat government after coming to power in 2001 attacked CRI to halt its activities.
She further remarked the trend of participation of women in the politics of Bangladesh has increased to a great extent due to various initiatives taken by the ruling government.
Twenty-one female members have been directly elected to the present parliament, she said, adding that now the prime minister and the Leader of the House, the opposition leader, the deputy leader of the House and a whip are all women.
Hasina said 30 percent seats in local government bodies like unions, upazilas, municipalities and city corporations have been kept aside for women.
"Women sailors have recently been appointed to the Bangladesh Navy for the first time, while the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) also recruited female members," she added.
The Democracy International team highly appreciated Bangladesh's progress in women empowerment under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership and praised the work of the CRI.
Former Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni, AL Publicity and Publication Secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud and PM's Principal Secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad were present at the meeting.