On the occasion of International Women’s’ Day 2023 BILS organised different events at Bhashantek Rehabilitation Project in Dhaka on March 1, 2023. Human chain, rally and domestic workers gathering with a discussion meeting followed by Kobi Gaan (Folk Song) dedicated for domestic workers were included in the programme. A total of 350 people (F-310, M- 40) participated the event.
At the beginning, domestic workers gathered at the BRP ground, organized and demonstrated a rally starting from BRP ground and it ended at the same place. Then the participants gathered into the BRP auditorium, where Chief Guest of the programme Shamsunnahar Bhuiyan MP, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment, Trade Union leaders, CSO representatives and partners discussed on various issues on domestic workers rights and entitlements and a Kobi Gaan was staged live by Baul singer Alom Dewan and his group.
Speakers said there is no alternative to include domestic workers in labour laws to ensure decent work and dignity. The speakers demanded the government to take strict action against domestic violence, increase public awareness and full implement of the Domestic Workers Protection and Welfare Policy, 2015. Apart from this, the system of registration and monitoring of domestic workers, fair working hours and wages, rest, holidays, entertainment and home visits, establishment of support centers in districts and upazilas to prevent violence and torture and inclusion of etiquette towards domestic workers in the curriculum.
Women’s Day event in Chattogram
On the occasion of the day, BILS organised a public meeting and rally on March 8, 2023 at Cheragi Pahar Square in the city and a discussion meeting with the participation of women trade union workers at the Engineer Abdul Khalek Auditorium of Chittagong Press Club demanding an end to all violence and oppression against women. More than 100 women workers of 8 trade union federations involved with BILS participated in the program.
Senior labour leader and Bangladesh Trade Union Center Chittagong district president Tapan Dutta was present as the chief guest at the meeting, while Chairman of BILS-LRSC Chittagong Management Committee, labour leader AM Nazimuddin was the special guest. Bangladesh Free Workers Federation-BMSF’s Chittagong Metropolitan President Nazma Akhtar presided over the meeting, while Aduri Kona, women organizer of Bangladesh Trade Union Center acted as Moderator. Among others, spoke at the discussion meeting. Nasreen Akhter of Sramik League, Lutfunnahar Sonia and Golzar Begum of Bangladesh Labour Federation, Jinnat Akhter of Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress, Shahana Akhter of Jatiya Sramik Jote and Munni Akhter of Bangladesh National Sramik Federation.
In the meeting, women trade union leaders said that although there are provisions to protect women from sexual harassment and physical and mental abuse, often these rights are being violated. Freeing women workers from exploitation, torture, harassment, violence and discrimination is one of the challenges of today’s International Women’s Day, they added.
Women’s Day event in Sylhet
BILS also celebrated International Women’s Day on March 19, 2023 at Shathgaon area in Moulvibazar with the support of OXFAM in Bangladesh & European Union aiming to empower women workers in the tea garden sector. The day was observed through a discussion meeting and colorful rally. BILS planned to start the programme from Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union office, Sreemangal but due to heavy downpour, the programme was shifted to shatgaon. The program started at 11.30 am and 110 people from different tea gardens were present where 102 are women.
Srimoti Naek, Vice President of Shathgaon Garden Panchayat committee presided over the discussion meeting where Mitali Datte. Vice chairman of Sreemongal upazila Parishad, Rambhajon Koiri, Upazila Vice Chairman, komolgonj Upazila, and former Executive Adviser of Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union, Nripen Pal, General Secretary (Acting) were present as guests of honour. Besides Poresh Kalindi, Organizing Secretary, Bangladesh Cha Sramik Union, Korno Tati. Organizing Secretary, Bali Shira valley, Sudip Koiri, General Secretary, Shathgaon Garden Panchayat Committee were present at the programme.
The objective of the event was to disseminate the women workers’ unity and motivate the women tea garden workers and Bangladesh Cha Shramik Union towards the spirit of international women’s Day.
Potential leadership of Bangladesh cha shramik union committee, Valley Committee, and Panchayat Committee emphasized the BILS-OXFAM initiatives for empowering the women tea garden workers in Moulvibazar. Women tea garden workers and community people were informed detail about the spirit of international women’s Day at the meeting. Monirul Kobir, project coordinator of BILS EWCSA project facilitated the meeting.