20th national council of Bangladesh Awami League: BNPS renews the call for 33% women representation in party’s committees
  November, 2016 | MORE NEWS  

Ahead of the 20th triennial national council of Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS) renews the call for incorporating more women in party’s committees to progressively realize the RPO (The Representation of the People Order) provision directive to incorporate women members in all level of decision making bodies in political parties.

The stated provision is in RPO article no. 90B(b)(ii) that all political parties must have 33% of women in all committees, including the executive committee, before 2020, is a precondition for political parties to be eligible in participating national election. At first stage, when the amendment of RPO 2008 was promulgated, the deadline for achieving this provision was within the year 2012. However, as all the political parties were far behind to the target, in 2013 Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC) extended the deadline to 2020. After four years of resetting the target year, still there is no remarkable attempt visible in political parties towards increasing women membership in their committees. Even there is no initiative from the political parties or the Election Commission to develop a guideline or roadmap to achieve the provision.

At present, women representation in Awami League central committee is 12.33 percent, which is 11.11 and 7.69 percent in Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jatiyo Party respectively. At grassroots level, women representation in party’s committees is barely 1 to 2 percent. Increasing women’s share in these committees is a longstanding advocacy agenda of BNPS. The demand is reinforced on the eve of the national council of the ruling and largest political party through a memorandum to the party’s leadership followed by a press conference on 19 October 2016 at Dhaka Reporters Unity. The press conference was addressed by BNPS chairperson Ms. Shaymoli Nasreen Chowdhury, vice chairperson Ms. Afroza Banu, executive committee member Ms. Parvin Sultana Jhuma and executive director Ms. Rokeya Kabir. Earlier, BNPS published a position paper addressing Bangladesh Awami League to take a major step in the council to fulfil the RPO provision. The position paper was shared to the Election Commission, political parties, women MPs, CSOs, development partners and media.

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