Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, has stressed the importance of connecting gender equality to sustainable development and economic growth.
“We cannot disregard half of the world’s population. We say that the Swedish Government is the world’s first feminist government, and as Foreign Minister I lead a feminist foreign policy,” she said while addressing a discussion.
The Swedish Embassy in Dhaka, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Global Deal, in the context of the Team Europe Initiative ‘Decent Work’, jointly organized the panel discussion on Monday titled “Social Dialogue as an Enabling Mechanism for Gender Equality on the Labour Market – Experiences from the RMG-sector in Bangladesh”.
The Swedish Minister said a natural part of this policy is to work for gender equality, including in the labour market. In today’s globalized economy, globalization must work for all.
“Strengthening gender equality on the labour market is not only the right thing to do, it is also the economically smart thing to do in any society.”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden also stated that both Sweden and Bangladesh had been partners from the start of the launching of the Global Deal Initiative, adding that she looked forward to continuing to work together on these important questions.
Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, also spoke.
The panel discussion was moderated by Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director, ILO Country Office for Bangladesh.
The panel gathered a broad range of relevant stakeholders sharing their experiences and consisted of Veronica Nilsson, Global Deal, Head of Unit in the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (ELS), OECD; Begum Shamsunanhar Bhuiyan MP, National Trade Union Representative, Member of the Parliament and Member to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment; China Rahman, General Secretary at Federation of Garment Workers’, Women’s Affair Secretary at IndustriALL Bangladesh Council (IBC); Dr. Rubana Huq, former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Ziaur Rahman, Regional Country Manager at H&M and Shirin Akhter MP, President of the National Workers Alliance, Member of Parliament and Founder President of Karmojibi Nari (KN).
During the seminar, the EU delegation gave a presentation of some of the early findings of their study “Mapping Trade Unions in Bangladesh: Current Dynamics and Challenges”.
The seminar, which was arranged as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, aimed at discussing how women’s active participation in the labour market can be strengthened including through exploring how Social Dialogue can contribute as a mechanism to this end.