Collaborative efforts needed to ensure women’s political participation

Violence around politics affects people regardless of their gender identity. However, much of the violent incidents against women are mostly overlooked or not perceived as political violence. This discussion urged for a collaborative effort to prevent gender based violence and pave the path of equal political participation of women and men in Bangladesh.

Our national election is going to take place on 30th December 2018. This election is crucial for myriad of different reasons. Not only it has the potential to shape the nation’s future but also it will play a pivotal role in amending the policy regarding women and other marginalized section of the society. This is why it is instrumental that young leaders who have been dealing with various sections of women’s movement and have been making an effort to change the scenario sit together and exchange their views about the challenges of women’s political participation and violence against women.

NDI and IID organized a dinner discussion on women’s political participation and gender-based violence in Bangladesh on 4 th December 2018. This discussion shaded light on the challenges of women’s participation in political process, different forms of gender-based violence (GBV), their magnitude and how they curb women’s political participation.

The event discussed various issues, starting with the brief history of women’s movement in all the spectrum of the society, globally and nationally. Discussants made point about how empowerment is identified differently within the country based on the historical socio-economic, religious and political context, what are the subtle forms of violence we ignore but has massive impact on the participation of women, even how women political leaders of the major political parties cornered based on their gender identity.

All the discussant agreed on the fact that there are enough laws for women’s protection but we should emphasize on the implementation. We should look at women’s political participation and gender based violence through an intersectional lenses. And men should also be involved when it comes to negotiate for women’s political participation and protecting their rights.

Among others, Sandra Pepera, Director, Gender, Women and Democracy, NDI were present at the event. Participants from different CSOs and academia joined the discussion. Falguni Reza, Senior Research Associate of IID moderated the roundtable.

The roundtable followed Chatham House rule for candid conversation where discussions during the event remain private and comments are not quoted outside.

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