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Bangladesh: National Women Development Policy 2008

(May 2, 2008) The National Women Development Policy 2008 (NWDP) is a statement of government policy issued by the Caretaker Government intended to create an appropriate political and socioeconomic structure to ensure the overall development of women. It provides for setting aside one-third of parliamentary seats for women and arranging direct election to the reserved seats, and appointing women to the government's Cabinet Division and other policy-making positions. The policy also provides for adoption of a law for five months of maternity leave to working women.

The NWDP created confusion among the Islamic scholars in Bangladesh regarding its impact on inheritance laws, which in Bangladesh are based on Sharia law. In responding to the controversy, the Chief Adviser explained that the NWDP is not legislation and does not affect the inheritance laws. The Chief Adviser added that the NWDP is just a platform for discussions on how to protect women from repression and deception and to improve their social condition in Bangladesh. The Law and Religious Affairs Adviser said that the government had not enacted or amended any legislation dealing with the Muslim inheritance law. (No Change in Inheritance Law: Law Adviser, INDEPENDENT BANGLADESH, March 13, 2008, available at