by Ali Mashraf
Department of Law, University of Dhaka hosted an Open Discussion Session on Thursday, March 8, 2018 to commemorate the International Women’s day. Honors and Master’s level students as well as the faculty members of the department were present at the discussion and took part spontaneously.
The International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year as a focal point of the movement for women’s rights. The chosen theme for the International Women’s Day of 2018 was ‘Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’. The Department of Law of University of Dhaka took the initiative to observe the day by holding an open discussion among the teachers and students on different aspects of women’s daily lives, how their rights are violated constantly and what measures must be taken to ensure equal rights for women.
Students voiced out their concerns about the various ways a woman is harassed regularly in public places. Questions were raised regarding the misogynistic views of both men and women which is a serious bar to women empowerment in our country. Different provisions of the Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain, 2000; The Acid Offence Control Act, 2002 and the Bangladesh Penal Code were discussed and the need for amendments and reforms in the legal provisions were voiced out by the students during the discussion. The role of Department of Law in establishing women’s rights and curbing instances of gross violations of their rights was also discussed at length.
Ms. Taslima Yasmin, Assistant Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka moderated the discussion and shared her experiences regarding oppression towards women in all spheres of life as well as the difficulties and uncomfortable experiences of the female students of the university. She urged everyone to make the environment of the university friendlier towards women in general. Dr. Raushan Ara, Assistant Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka also talked about the significance of the day and expressed her grief at the current scenario of women’s rights in Bangladesh.
Speaking of their humble beginnings, Mr. Gobinda C. Mandal, Associate Professor of Law, and Mr. A.B.M. Asfrafuzzaman, Lecturer of Law, University of Dhaka reminisced how women at the rural areas have been victimized, tortured and deprived of their rights since the earlier days. They remarked that if women’s rights are to be upheld, the rights of the rural women are to be ensured in the first place. Ms. Sharowat Shamin, Lecturer of Law, University of Dhaka mentioned that women have indeed come a long way in establishing their rights as human beings and dreamt of a better future in the upcoming days. Mr. Mohamad Golam Sarwar Lecturer of Law, University of Dhaka was also present at the discussion.
Towards the end, Mr. Gobinda C. Mandal stressed upon the need for hosting such discussions on women’s rights and a healthy exchange of views which would pave the way for law students to work on ensuring rights of women in all spheres of life. While everyone agreed that women in today’s world have indeed come a long way, more initiatives need to be taken to ensure their equal status in the society. Department of Law wishes to host more such discussions in near future.
Ali Mashraf is the Special Correspondent of The FutureLaw Initiative and a junior year law student at University of Dhaka