Every morning one lady bike rider passes me when my bus gets stuck in the jam on the way to my office. She goes ahead to her destination by driving her Scooty easily and naturally on the wide and narrow spaces on the road as like as a man. Every day when I see her I give her a salute and admire her courage because it is Bangladesh, a moderate Islamic country by the constitution, where a big part of the people do not support from their mind to let the women go out from home for working purposes and open their identity to other men. They wish to detain their women, sister or daughter in the home and against doing their job, then this is too far for the woman wishes to drive a bike or scooty at this like of society and environment. So that, every day she faces odd looking and bad comments deliberate by many narrow minded people. Though I feel proud of her and hope that by seeing her so many women come out from their home and lead their lives independently, sometimes I also feel panicky for that lady bike rider and pray for her not to attack by the fundamentalists. Yes, I salute you, lady.
The women of many countries in the world especially in some countries of Middle East Asia including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. have several types of religious and state restrictions to dissuade them from independence and rights. In the comparison with those countries women Bangladeshi women already go far ahead to acquire their rights. They come out from their home for work; they earn money by giving labor, some of their service holders, some businesswomen and they have played vital role in their family’s economic development as well as the country’s economy. In Bangladesh, there are many government, non government organizations and foreign donor and aid organizations who are working for women development, which are not possible in many conservative countries. And it is not new but very rare that a woman drives her bike or car in Bangladesh. Some brave hearted woman individual drive their own vehicle. BRAC and some other NGOs have appointed some women drivers for their official vehicles, some women NGO workers are doing their job related works and going job areas by cycle.
But what is the real situation of the most women of every non developed, developing and conservative country even also in developed countries? Are all of them able to come out from home bounds?
In comparison with the city women the village women are falling back in many cases. The city women get more benefits of modern education and livelihood than the village women. The village women are deceived from developed services. They have very little knowledge about their rights. Their world is too small. It is not only applicable for the women but also for all the village people. But why? In my views some of the reasons are government and society’s conservative mentality, the financial crisis of the state, city orientated development activities of NGOs. Most of the government, non government and international donor and aid organizations have mainly city based activities. They arrange most of their development based and awareness building programs, seminars, national-international conferences, several types of events, skill building programs etc in big cities but not in village or remote areas. So, where are the chances for village people to know and be aware about their rights and get modern advantages? It is true that, though microfinance organizations give the advantages of lending money to the women for their financial solvency but they have no significant role and programs to aware them about their rights and economic independence. Everyone should note these for future decisions about women’s development programs because these are not only happen in non developed and developing but also in many developed countries and their societies.
Conservatives, several types of social and religious dictums, superstitions etc. are also big obstacles for women’s development and empowerment. Many countries and societies have these problems and the women of those societies are falling back than other societies, because there are no scopes created by conservative governments and societies for the NGOs and international aid organizations for working on women’s development. And it is true that every country, both develop and non developed, has many conservative families who are so sensitive for their women!!!!
We know that economic independence is the main key for obtaining rights and empowering them. But, are those women get full economical independents who are earning money? Is my lady bike rider economically independent? I don’t know!!! But you, everyone agrees with me that, all women expect some of them, are not economically independent even though they play a vital role in their family and country’s economic development.
So, what should be done?
For women’s development and empowerment, those women who are pulling down the circle of conservative dictums can play a better role to bring out others. Also rights based awareness and several types of skill building programs can play effective roles for empowering them in every society. Government, non government and international donor and aid organizations should take several types of awareness building and development programs not only in big cities but also in villages, remote areas and small cities. Government should take initiatives to give modern education and develop the livelihood of village and remote areas. International and developed countries should create pressures to the conservative governments and give donations to the non developed and developing countries for women development. Everyone knows that a woman can play a vital role for the good and humanitarian development of her child. We also know, in future a bad child would be a thorn for develop and moderate counties by doing destruction works. So, developed countries should be aware about this and play more roles for women development in those countries.
Hope, one day, maybe we will not wondering seeing many ladies going to their destination by driving their own bike or car, it will seem very natural.