Hill Voice, 17 October 2019, Gaibandha:  On 15 October 2019 a rally and discussion meeting was organized to strengthen the economic and social values and dignity of rural women in order to improve their livelihood and achieve their rights at Shahebganj Bagda Farm area in Gobindaganj upazila, Rajshahi.

Kerina hasda, Indigenous Leader and researcher, Shantonika Murmu, Rokeya Begum, Marium Begum, Abia Begum, Abdul Quader, Member of Katabari Union Parishad, Mamun Mia, Shafiqul Islam, Azmal Hossain, Secretary of Union Parishad, Tofazzal Hossain, Project Coordinator of Obolombon, Dipti Murmu, Project Officer of Obolombon and Teresa Soren. Indigenous Youth Leader were present during the discussion meeting.

Speaker said, the indigenous people are being left out from the development activities and which is why the govt and non-governmental organization need to be take special programmes to abolish the poverty. Besides that, the poverty rate of indigenous peoples is 60% whereas the mainstream is only 21%. The govt need to provide vocational training, encourage for savings and cash assistance to improve the livelihood and minimize the poverty rate of indigenous peoples.

Speaker also addressed the importance of rural women in advancing the society. 86% of women are living in the village which is comprising half of the total populations. In a research it is seen that, women spend 53% of their total timings in agriculture and small industries while man spend only 47%. Though the women are spending 16-18 hours for family and household work they only have little control over of power economy and society.

In order to facilitate the process of women empowerment the contribution and role of rural women in the national agricultural economy need to be recognized, women participation in marketing and income generation activities need to be created, the goods needs to be purchased directly from the women farmers, women rights in property nee to established, labor discrimination towards women need to be eliminated according to the national agricultural economy 2013. The overall contribution of women in the family, society and state need to be evaluate which will play a vital role in establishing respect and dignity of women in the society.