Begum Rokeya Day will be observed on Sunday with due respect to mark the 137th birth and 85th death anniversaries of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, the pioneer of women's rights in the subcontinent.
Women and Children Affairs Ministry will organise a function at city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium on the occasion of "Begum Rokeya Day" and also the distribution of Rokeya Padak-2017 at 10.30 am. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend the function as the chief guest.
Different programmes have also been chalked out at government and non- government levels across the country to mark the day.
On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages today and congratulated the recipients of Begum Rokeya Padak-2017.
Abdul Hamid and Sheikh Hasina paid profound respect to the memory of Begum Rokeya. They wished a success of all programmes of the day and the function to confer Begum Rokeya Padak-2017.
The President, in his message, said during the dark era of superstitions and obstacles of religious dogmatism, Begum Rokeya played a unique role to free the Muslim women from the state of being confined and open up the door for women education to establish their rights and dignity.
Defying social obstructions, Rokeya appeared as the harbinger to free the Abarodhbasini (The Secluded Women), he added.
Abdul Hamid expressed his optimism that the life and works of Begum Rokeya will inspire the advancement of women to build a discrimination free society.
He said sustainable development is not possible without the equal participation of women and men as women comprise half of the country's total population.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh, the government is working relentlessly for women empowerment through engaging them with overall development of the country, said the President, adding that the women are now working at all the professions including education, health, judicial service, administration and armed forces.
Highlighting Bangladesh as the role model in women empowerment, he said the United Nations conferred the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with various prestigious awards like 'MDG Award', 'Planet 50-50 Champion' and 'Agent of Changes' for her (Sheikh Hasina) outstanding success in women empowerment.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Begum Rokeya had played a leading role for women education and women emancipation during the beginning of Bengali Muslims renaissance in the early 20th century.
She said Begum Rokeya had set a bright example in the social reforms through her literary works and spreading the light of education among women.
The Prime Minister said the philosophy, courage, life and works of Begum Rokeya will always remain as immense source of inspiration for the womenfolk.
Sheikh Hasina said the greatest Bangalee of all times Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had established equal rights of women in the country's constitution in 1972.
In 1997, Awami League government for the first time announced National Women Development Policy, she added.
The Premier said the Awami League government has been implementing different programmes for flourishing education, socioeconomic advancement and empowerment of women since resuming office in 2009.
She said her government has formulated National Women Development Policy 2011 making it more time-befitting.
The government has made tuition free education for girls till Class XII for expansion of women education, Sheikh Hasina added.
She wished womenfolk will play an important role to materialize the Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 to turn the country into a 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt of Bangabandhu.
Marking the Rokeya Day, Rangpur district administration along with Rokeya Day Observance Committee (RDOC) has taken three-day programmes at her birthplace Pairaband village under Mithapukur upazila from tomorrow.
Born on December 9, 1880, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, commonly known as Begum Rokeya, wrote novels, poems, short stories, science fiction, satires, treatises, and essays. In her writings, she advocated that both men and women should be treated equally as rational beings and the lack of education is the main reason of women's lagging behind.
She died of heart problems on December 9, 1932, which was her 52nd birthday. In Bangladesh, every year December 9th is observed as "Rokeya Day".-BSS