A non-governmental organisation (NGO) on Sunday claimed that women are continuously facing harassment at different places, including police stations, hospitals, public transport and markets.
A survey of ActionAid Bangladesh mentioned that some 35 percent women faced physical torture and another 30 percent faced teasing at police stations when they went there for taking service.
“The women faced bitter experience while seeking service at police stations against eve-teasing,” Nuzhat Jabin, manager of Democratic Governance at ActionAid Bangladesh, told reporters.
The ActionAid Bangladesh, which carried out the survey in 2016, released its findings through a discussion meeting styled ‘State of Public Services’ at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU).
It mentioned that some 40.2 percent women were harassed at hospitals while some 50 percent in market.
The findings also claimed that city corporation offices do not have toilet facilities and breast feeding corner.
According to the survey report, about 45 percent women faced bad comments from bus conductors and drivers.The study conducted in four urban centres -- Khulna, Rajshahi, Chittagong and Narayanganj -- tries to identify the provisions required to address violence against women (VAW) in five public services namely police, city corporations, transport authority and market authority and hospitals.
“Not surprisingly none of the services have any specific provisions to address VAW and in most cases the harassment that women face goes unaddressed and unreported,” she added.
She also pointed to the near epidemic status of mosquito-borne Chikungunya for those living in Dhaka. None takes responsibility for the disruption. It is an example of unavailability of public services, said Nuzhat Jabin.
The poorest section of the community has borne the brunt of such services, she added.
City corporation bylaws provide no specific guidance on the role of female councillors, she also alleged.
Dr Pratima Paul Majumder, senior research fellow of BIDS, said, “Bangladesh is now the country of lower-middle income status but many of our citizens have tendencies to dodge income tax.”
Asgar Ali, director of ActionAid Bangladesh, said the state should ensure public service for all people.
They also demanded that domestic resource mobilisation efforts need to be strengthened through innovative and untapped mechanisms such as corporate tax instead of the traditional sources such as income tax, value-added tax and surcharges.
Gender budgeting through grassroots’ women’s representation and participation, the service delivery should have legally binding mechanisms such as social audit, citizen’s charter to increase accountability of public services and devolution of power to strengthen upazila and municipalities as centres of excellence so that decision-making at the local level is more responsive to local needs.