GIZ Bangladesh Gender Working Group (GWG) observed the International Women’s Day 2022 by hosting an online event on 8 March. With the theme “Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, the discussion centred around why feminism as a concept is good for everyone. It is about breaking down prejudices associated with the term. Another point of reference has been the new German government’s approach towards a feminist German Development Cooperation, which places gender equality at the centre of its policymaking and our development policy actions.
Dr. Dana de la Fontaine, Programme Coordinator, Adaptation of Urban Areas to Climate Change, GIZ Bangladesh in her opening speech, welcomed her colleagues and the guest speakers to the event.
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Angela Langenkamp, GIZ Gender Commissioner, shared a presentation on Feminist Development Policy and Cooperation, where she emphasized on a feminist foreign, development, and security policy. She briefly talked about Gender Equality and mentioned the Feminist Foreign, Development, and Security Policy statements given by German Ministers at the Munich Security Conference. She emphasized on German and European Commitments to “leave no one behind” and a gender-equal world for everyone, regardless of one’s ethnicity, gender, age, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and gender identity, migration status, or other factors. BMZ has adopted a gender-sensitive language, she pointed out. She ended her speech saying, “We are well prepared to be a core partner to the German Government to implement its Feminist Foreign and Development Policy,”
Guest Speaker Ms. Shireen Huq, Founding Member, Naripokkho (a women’s rights organisation), started her speech with the various definitions of feminism before bringing forward some of the popular misconceptions about feminism. Feminism is a call for action and it is not about “women fighting against men” or “women wanting to be like men”, she explained. She lamented the fact that gender equality still remains a far cry even as the country is celebrating the 50th anniversary of victory. She hoped men and women would work together to build a more humane and gender equal society.
An animation video titled “A Feminist Future” was then screened.
The second guest speaker Mr. Shakil Ahmed, Futurist, Ridiculous Futures, National Consultant, Blended Learning, a2i Programme, introduced himself as a Feminist and a keen learner. He presented the concurrent thoughts of society and underlined the need for dialogue for the restoration of a gender-equal social structure. He thought that animated movies like “Moana” and “Brave” are contributing to changing our thought process and hoped that the spread of feminism would bring about a more sustainable tomorrow.
Ms. Shabnam Khanam then enthralled the audience by rendering a song – “Rise up Women rise like the flaming fire! Rise up, O wife of the Sun-God, with the mark of blood* (*Alluding to the goddess Kali) on your forehead!”
The event ended with the closing remarks of Dr. Dana, who mentioned the gender week activities being held by GIZ HQ and BMZ. She thanked all the participants for attending the event and thanked the gender working group for organising the event.
Anika Tasniya Karim and Nabila Tarannum Khan moderated the event.
You can view the video at video Link (in YouTube) and go through the presentation by Dr. Angela Langenkamp.
Marufa Haque has written the article