To inspire and empower the leadership of young women and girls and enable them to become active citizens, girls must enjoy the right to decide for themselves, speakers at the Girls’ Summit 2022-Dhaka, in Gazipur, said on Monday.
International development organization Plan International Bangladesh is hosting a three-day girls’ summit in Gazipur at a residential space.
The aim is to train young girls in leadership and knowledge management and to raise awareness about their bodily rights, civic rights and empower them to plan effective campaigns in their communities.
Legislator Meher Afroz Chumki, chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee of the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, virtually inaugurated the summit, reads a press release.
In her speech, she shared that girls and young women are reaching new heights every day through their creativity and resilience.
She mentioned, “Thanks to the dynamic leadership of our Prime Minister, we have succeeded in reducing child marriage and increasing the participation of women in various economic activities.”
She also appreciated the organization of this summit by Plan International Bangladesh and Youth Engagement for Sustainability, Bangladesh.
Md Azharul Islam Khan, Director General of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, addressed the opening ceremony as the chief guest.
He said, “I am here today because it is my responsibility to empower girls and young women like you. Leadership has no gender, and anyone with skills and experience deserves to be a leader.
He also pledged to support similar youth-led initiatives for gender equality.
Kabita Bose, Country Director of Plan International Bangladesh, said: “Tomorrow’s leaders should take a holistic view of future challenges. Being confined to a limited worldview will limit your potential as leaders. This is why, at Plan International Bangladesh, we want you to explore the vast world of opportunities available and realize your full potential.”
She also mentioned that the Girls Summit is a flagship event celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world by Plan International, with the aim of improving the leadership skills of girls.
Wahida Banu, Executive Director of Aparajeyo Bangladesh, Farha Farin, Project Officer of Bandhu Social Welfare Society, and Aparna Barma, HR and DO Director of Plan International Bangladesh also spoke at the event.
The girls prove themselves in the fields of education, technology, sports, arts, sciences and even mountaineering. The empowered girls of today are the influential women of tomorrow.
70 girls and young women aged 15 to 24 from across Dhaka came together at the event to develop leadership skills through equal power and become active citizens of this ever-changing world, the statement added.
Bangladesh has a population of over 165 million where the male to female ratio stands at 98:100.3 (Population and Housing Census 2022). Yet girls are underrepresented and neglected in all areas.
It is our fundamental responsibility to raise them as competent and responsible citizens. Serious and committed actions can ensure a better future for young people, especially girls and young women. With this belief, the summit was organized, including sessions specifically designed to build girls’ confidence in achieving their full potential.
Moni, one of the attendees, shared her excitement saying, “The summit exceeded my expectations. This platform gave me the opportunity to build on my existing knowledge and develop myself as an advocate girls in my community”.
During this three-day summit, girls will learn about life skills, leadership, gender equality, girls’ rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, skills development and work opportunities, communication strategy, etc.
Introducing the session on “Finding a Leader in Myself”, eminent actress and social worker Azmeri Haque Badhan said, “I hope to see a society where girls and boys grow up as equals with the same opportunities, without prejudice. As a society, we repress others instead of collectively defending everyone’s human rights. I think as leaders of the future, every girl and young woman should respect every individual equally, but most importantly, they should develop their self-confidence.
The sessions should enrich the knowledge of the participating girls and enable them to acquire life skills and plan their future by adapting to the modern world.
Plan International has worked in Bangladesh since 1994 to establish the rights of children and young people, especially girls. The organization is committed to strengthening the leadership of youth and children, especially for girls and young women.