BNPS continues its gender budget campaign to eliminate gender discrimination and achieve the Millennium Development Goals related to gender equity and reduce maternal mortality. In a post-budget press conference BNPS demanded to dedicate 7 percent of GDP in national budget for women’s advancement. Despite this common demand from women’s movement budget declared a week ago showed only an obscure 4.5 percent allocation for women.
As for the MDG 2 is concerned, BNPS budget analysis observed that allocation to prevent drop out of girls student at primary level, which is almost two times higher than boys, is also absent in the proposed budget. In spite of highest allocation for education sector the proposed budget failed to fulfill government’s commitment to increase the proportion of GDP for education sector from its current level of 2.4 to 6 percent.
Briefing paper circulated in the press conference also mentioned that childhood marriage, lack of awareness, lack of trained birth attendance, major causes of high maternal mortality, related to MDG 5, is also unaddressed in the proposed budget. The press conference informed that without taking adequate and proper steps it would be impossible for the government to decrease maternal mortality to 144 and ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015. The millennium development goal 5 would be impossible to achieve with ensuring the service of trained birth attendants; availability of community clinics, physicians, nurses and medicines.
Focus of current year’s gender budget campaign is to identify the gaps and suggest measures required to achieve MDGs 3 and 5. The campaign titled ‘National Budget for Achieving MDG for Women’ was orchestrated in three steps: 1. pre-bedget seminar to disseminate the findings on the current status, 2. submission of pre-budget recommendations, and 3. post-budget analysis through press conference at the national press club, Dhaka, on June 17, 2010.
Ms. Rokeya Kabir, executive director of BNPS delivered the introductory note about the campaign and its objectives. Dr. Maleka Begum, a faculty member of the Department of Gender Studies of the Dhaka University; Dr. Pratima Paul-Majumder, senior research fellow of BIDS; Ms. Monish Biswas of UN Millennium Campaign, Dr. Rokeya Khatun, National Gender Equality Specialist of SCOPE Project (C&AG office, GoB) were present in the event and shared their expert opinions. Ms. Shahnaz Sumi, deputy director of BNPS presented the briefing paper.