Setting a new course
Bangladesh’s first-ever female High Commissioner in London, Saida Muna Tasneem highlighted the great advances her country had made since Independence in 1971 – from a booming economy and particularly in the battle for gender equality at a joyous celebration at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization.
Addressing the large gathering, High Commissioner Tasneem said Bangladesh was breaking the paradox and stereotypes of being a Muslim-majority country. “Our nation has more girls than boys in schools and colleges, making Bangladesh top ranked in South Asia in gender equality and fifth in the world in political empowerment of women in the World Economic Forum global gender gap in 2018,” she said. “We are the one country in the world that for more than a decade has had a woman as head of government and, for more than a decade, a woman head of opposition and woman speaker of parliament.”
Guests of honour included the Hon Shahriar Alam MP, State Minister of Foreign Affairs for Bangladesh, Lord Howe, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords and Gareth Bayley, FCO Director for South Asia and Afghanistan – who helped cut a special birthday cake.
As delicious Bangladeshi curries were served up, folk dancers waving the Bangladeshi flag brought the afternoon to a vibrant end.
Above photo: Traditional dancers wave the flag for Bangladesh
PHOTOS: PIERRE DE VILLIERS