On 14-18 October, St. Petersburg holds 137th IPU Assembly. Delegations from over 150 member countries arrived at the Tauride Palace. Currently, the president of IPU is a Bangladeshi parliamentarian Saber Chowdhury. He highlighted the fact, that more than 50% of speakers at this year’s Assembly are women. The IPU President explained, that Union’s one of the most essential concerns is women’s empowerment. Women hold posts in all of IPU institutions. According to IPU Assembly code, every delegation must have at least one woman as a member; otherwise, the delegation would have one less vote at the common election. Saber Chowdhury said, that IPU aims for equal gender representation in politics. Women’s role in solving social, political and economic problems is crucial. Female representation is essential in all areas of society. The goals of Sustainable Development Agenda can only be achieved with the help of gender equality. Answering the question of our journalist during the press conference preceding the opening of 137th IPU Assembly, Saber Chowdhury told us the facts mentioned above. Also, after the conference the President of IPU gave us an interview. He told us about the role of women in Bangladesh, them gaining positions in society and the main steps of acquiring gender equality. It is important, that Mr. Chowdhury’s answers were full of sincere respect and admiration for women.


Telling us about Bangladesh, he highlighted that women’s role is of great significance. For example, Prime minister, Chairperson of the Parliament, Vice Chairperson of one of Chambers and opposition leader are all women there. The situation in local governments is similar. Mr. Chowdhury said, that “In our country there are many women who occupy high positions. Our women are in entrepreneurship, police, military sphere, etc. Bangladeshi women take part in UN peacekeeping efforts. There is an overall empowerment of women in various sections of our society”. According to Saber Chowdhury, remarkable positive stages of female agenda recently involved Bangladeshi socio-economic sphere. For instance, special microcredit loans for women were initiated to empower them economically. Alongside with that, the Government widens women’s involvement in the financial sphere to help them develop professionally. 


Parliamentarian considers changing of national mindset one of the most challenging tasks. In his opinion, men should treat women differently. With that in hand, women’s empowerment would gather much more pace.


Strategically, Saber Chowdhury understands the myrrh-bearing role of women. Gender equality concerning the sustainable development is an important issue for him.


The IPU President is sure, that women’s empowerment will remain one of the essential fields of Union’s concern. It is important to continue increasing female representation in politics. Besides, both candidates for IPU presidency are women. They represent Uruguay and Mexico. The election will be held in course of 137th IPU Assembly. Saber Chowdhury is happy about the fact that a woman will follow him as an IPU President. Such successful, motivated and energetic women will both contribute to the IPU activity and become role models.

Viktoria Yezhova, Nikolay Gavrilov, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov