Gender-responsive budget to empower women migrants

The government is keen to listen to the voice of the CSOs to strengthen the gender responsiveness of the budget, said Rownaq Jahan, Secretary of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry at a seminar.

Speakers at the event also argued that instead of arbitrarily reporting a section of the budget as gender budget, ministries need to ensure that every step in the budgeting process takes into account special and differential needs of women.

The seminar on ‘Gender Responsive Budget to Empower Women Migrants’ was jointly organized by the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) and Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK) in partnership with WARBE Development Foundation and PROKAS, British Council on 30th June 2019, at the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment in Dhaka. Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman of WARBE Development Foundation, inaugurated the event.

Speaking as the special guest, Rownaq Jahan also said that the government is focused on empowering the women migrants and mainstreaming gender equality.

Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, assured that the scarcity of the money would not be a problem if the relevant stakeholders can come up with appropriate programs to address the issues that women migrant workers face.

more photos of the seminar

Syeed Ahamed, CEO of IID, gave the keynote presentation, where he put forward eight specific recommendations for creating a gender-responsive budget to empower women migrant workers. He emphasized that in addition to improving the quality of training for the aspirants, initiatives should be taken to increase the participation of women in training. He mentioned that the embassy officials should also be rigorously sensitized on gender issues. While determining new labour markets, special and differential needs of women should be taken into account, he recommended.

Emphasizing on the importance of gender mainstreaming, Rahnuma Salam Khan, National Program Officer of ILO, said that simply increasing the budget or making the budget gender sensitive is not the solution. The government institutions must also focus on establishing a gender-sensitive approach both at their workplaces and within their program activities, she observed.

Stressing on the necessity of public-private partnership, Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman of WARBE Development Foundation, recommended that before budgeting, consultation with the relevant private sector will help assist the government to create a more effective budget. Sumaiya Islam, Executive Director of BNSK, mentioned that proper training is required to increase the workers’ efficiency in crisis management, especially for the women migrants.

Sheepa Hafiza, Executive Director of Ain O Shalish Kendra chaired the event. Among others, Gazi Mohammad Julhash, Director General of Wage Earners’ Welfare Board, Nurul Islam, Director of Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, Ariful Haque, Deputy General Manager of Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited, Shariful Islam Hasan, Migration Program Head of BRAC, Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, Secretary General of BAIRA, Gerry Fox, British Council’s PROKAS Team Leader, also spoke at the migration policy seminar.

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