DHAKA: Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received on Friday the Global Women’s Leadership Award in Sydney, Australia.
The US-based Global Summit of Women conferred the award on her for her leadership in women’s education and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.
She received the award from summit President Irene Natividad at a gala dinner, in the presence of around 1,500 women leaders from across the world.
“We have to forge a new alliance to support women and uphold their rights,” Hasina said as she received the award to a standing ovation.
“Together, we must act on our shared culture, tradition and values to benefit millions of women in need.”
Last year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was given the award. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and former UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova have also been among the recipients.
During her 10-year rule, Hasina has created opportunities for Bangladeshi women in the civil service, corporate, development and entrepreneurship sectors.
But despite social development, violence against women and gender inequality remain key issues to be addressed.
“We need to ensure prompt justice against domestic violence and rape,” said Prof. Ishrat Shamim, president of the Center for Women and Children Studies in Dhaka. “It will make people aware and deter them from resorting to violence against women.”
Child marriage is also a huge concern among women’s rights activists in Bangladesh. Shamim said a minimum age for girls to get married should be set at 18.
Currently, child marriage for girls is legal in many parts of the country under special circumstances.
“In Bangladesh, we’re experiencing a mixed situation in terms of women’s development,” Farah Kabir, country manager at Action Aid Bangladesh, told Arab News.
“On the one hand, women are contributing to the development of society with much confidence, while on the other they’re facing violence both inside and outside the home.”
Hasina expressed her resolve to work with world leaders to overcome traditional gender stereotypes and reach out to marginalized and vulnerable women.
She stressed the need to address health hazards specific to women to enhance their productivity, and the need for equal opportunities for women in every walk of life.