International Women’s Day- a day dedicated to all the women of the world. On March 8, I had the opportunity to celebrate this day with a wonderful experience. I had participated in a debate regarding gender equality. I was able to share my views with lots of other youths who also have their own views on women and gender equality.
As a member of Dhaka University Model United Nations, I got the opportunity to participate in this International Women’s Day debate that was arranged by United Nations Information Center to mark the Women’s Day this year. The opponents were 3 members from UNYSAB –all bright and hopeful men. But who rocks the world? Girls. To compete with them was not just an achievement because they were actually good but in the end, the girls had to win. The DUMUNA delegation team consisting of three female members that I was included in won in the final round of the debate.
The final round of the debate was held between us and UNYSAB on the topic “Planet 50-50: Gender equality can be achieved by 2030”. The UNYSAB delegation spoke in favor of the topic and we took stand against it. The debate was aimed at raising awareness about the fifth goal of the 17 sustainable development goals which is achieving gender equality and empowers women and girls by 2030. The program was inaugurated by United Nations Residential Coordinator for Bangladesh Mr. Robert D Watkins at 10AM in the United Nations Bangladesh office at IDB Bhaban of the capital and the session was beautifully moderated by UNIC Dhaka Officer-in-Charge Md. Moniruzzaman.
Mr. Robert D Watkins was keen enough to discuss the issues that the women face in everyday life- from harassment in public bus transport to child marriage. According to him, the women has a vital role to play in the society and about time equality between men and women established. He let the young audiences share their own views on the situation of women in the society and gender equality. He urged to work both male and female together to achieve the gender equality by 2030 in all means.
Head of UNIDO Operations in Bangladesh Mr. Zaki Uz Zaman, Head of UNODC Operations in Bangladesh Mr. Kamrul Islam, Communication Officer of UNFPA Bangladesh Ms. Asma Akhter, Communication Officer of UNESCO Bangladesh Ms. Nyma Nargis and Communication Officer of WFP Bangladesh Ms. Mahreen Ahmed were in the judges’ panel of the debate. One thing that they talked about was positive discrimination. Sometimes discrimination is needed when you are a girl, you need more attention than the male members in your family for your own security and privilege. The debate was followed by a slogan contest, where the youths from different universities of the country suggested slogans on women rights.
Lastly, what inspired me was a line that Mr. Zaki Uz Zaman said in his speech- “it’s not just the duty of a woman to raise voice against gender issues but it’s the duty of a man to make the people aware of the equality of men and women.”