Published: 07 March 2023
Dhaka, 07 March 2023 - Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called for a specific roadmap to ensure the active inclusion of women in the mainstream of digital technology and innovation strategy as a tool for achieving gender equality. The organization also emphasized the need to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all institutions protecting women from online violence and torture.
In a press release sent to the media on International Women's Day, TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman stressed the importance of a specific timeline to include women in technology and innovation. He said, "We believe that a united effort is required to ensure women's social, economic, and political empowerment in technology-dependent Bangladesh. Women risk falling further behind without active inclusion, with technology-driven inequalities exacerbating existing disparities."
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman noted that women's participation in technology-based economic activities has increased, with many women becoming entrepreneurs using online platforms. While this is promising, women still lag behind men in accessing technology, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage survey in 2022.
TIB also highlighted the urgent need to combat online violence and harassment against women, which has increased with the development of technology. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, "Sending obscene, sexually harassing messages and pictures online, being a victim of violence by creating fake IDs are constantly coming to the fore through the media. About 64 percent of women are victims of online violence, causing emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, and trauma. If women are not protected from online violence, it will not be possible to achieve women's empowerment or equality."
Corruption is also a significant obstacle to protecting women's rights, with women at greater risk than men. According to the National Household Survey 2021 conducted by TIB, 43.2 percent of women as service recipients have been victims of corruption. The survey also shows that women have been victims of corruption at a higher rate than men while receiving services from local government institutions, healthcare, and other sectors.
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman called on the government to prepare and implement a specific national framework to control and prevent corruption, stating that "corruption undermines the commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment by obstructing justice instead of preventing violence against women. Ensuring gender equality and women's empowerment is vital to sustainable development, and corruption must be tackled to achieve this goal."
In conclusion, TIB's press release highlights the urgent need to include women in the mainstream of technology and innovation, combat online violence and harassment, and prevent corruption to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment in Bangladesh.
Director, Outreach and Communication