Staff Correspondent: To raise awareness and collaborations among the stakeholders, the ‘2nd National Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at Workplace’ took place today at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka. This conference was a joint effort of the Department of Population Sciences-University of Dhaka and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation with funding support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Ms. Meher Afroz Chumki MP, Chairman- Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, attended the inaugural session as the Chief Guest while Professor Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka inaugurated the conference.
Among others, Mr. Harry Verweij, Ambassador- the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh attended as Guest of Honor; Mr. Jason Belanger, Country Director- Bangladesh, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Mr. Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director (Bangladesh)- International Labour Organization (ILO) attended as Special Guests while Professor Dr. Mohammad Mainul Islam, Chairman, Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka Chaired the session.
The keynote presented by renowned global health and development professional Dr. Halida Hanum Akhter. The conference brought together academia, activists, researchers, private sectors, NGOs and donors to discuss problems and solutions impacting the lives of individuals, including women and their ability to exercise and access SRHR at the workplace, and showcased 18 abstracts on SRHR issues.
During his inaugural speech, Professor Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman, Honorable Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka said ‘It is indeed a very important concern for a non-inclusive society like ours, SRHR is highly relevant to the women working in the RMG sector and similarly important to our students to learn and act on this”.
Ms. Meher Afroz Chumki MP said, “SRHR is a neglected issue in Bangladesh and now we have to change our mindset to work on the SRHR issues. We have to take serious initiative for the female RMG workers for their SRHR needs. Ensuring Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is important to attain SDGs, our government has been working on this”.
Mr. Harry Verweij, Ambassador- the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh specified that SRHR and health-related initiatives are still seen as ‘just doing good for workers’. And not as important contributors to business benefits. However, through our intervention with the Working With Women by SNV we have been able to create evidence that these initiatives are really benefiting your business.