Government Policy

“This woman is a force”: Washington Post

The renowned US news outlet Washington Post has lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her bold leadership on the global stage alongside Bangladesh’s impressive progress in women’s empowerment and achievements in education and poverty reduction.


In a refreshing approach, it has also provided glimpses of Sheikh Hasina’s lighter side.


The Washington Post article was published yesterday and written by Petula Dvorak — a columnist for the newspaper.


The article mentions that the PM celebrated her 76th birthday with her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy and her 16-year-old granddaughter, who live in a suburb just outside Washington DC.


Read From the Editor-in-Chief: In the pantheon of leaders, Sheikh Hasina stands taller each year


“I cook for them,” Hasina said. “Chicken biryani … At my son’s house, I have my own kitchen that’s just for me.”


Dvorak interviewed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ritz-Carlton in north Virginia, where she was staying after attending the UNGA in New York.


Highlighting the Bangladesh PM’s success stories, Dvorak wrote, Sheikh Hasina is the longest-serving female head of government in the world.


The article said, the Prime Minister is leading a nation with more people than Russia and survived at least 20 assassination attempts, including a particularly bloody grenade attack in 2004.


Read Chinese Minister Liu greets Hasina on her 76th birthday


Referring to a man named Abdullah Niami, the writer said, he raised his 6-year-old daughter Zoya up high as he wanted her to see Sheikh Hasina — a female head of government which “America won’t see anytime soon”.


The article also highlighted that Sheikh Hasina is upholding the legacy of Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu, as the nation’s Prime Minister for four terms, totaling 18 years so far.


At the UN General Assembly, it said, the Prime Minister asked for help with accommodating more than a million Rohingya refugees who fled the violence in Myanmar and settled in Bangladesh camps.


Dvorak quoted Sheikh Hasina as saying that camp life is not good and the Rohingyas want to return to their country.


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Her nation’s migrant situation cannot be compared with America’s, she said, adding that the United States is a vast country with lots of land and opportunities to work.


Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh ranks as No. 8 in the world in terms of population, with more than 171 million people, but its size is close to that of Wisconsin in the US.


The article also highly appreciated the Sheikh Hasina government’s zero-tolerance approach to domestic terrorism.


The writer pointed out the “Despite Being a Women” meme featuring Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.


Read PM Hasina reaches London on the way back home


In response, the PM laughingly noted: sometimes “women are better than men”.


“Being a woman”, the Prime Minister said, she understands the struggles related to poverty in Bangladesh, the obstacles that most women face, and how their non-inclusion stalls a nation’s progress.


In the past decade, her government significantly reduced poverty in the country, expanded educational opportunities and improved housing, she said.


The Petula Dvorak’s article quoted the World Bank that gives high marks for growth in Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, noting it went from “being one of the poorest nations at birth in 1971” to reaching “lower-middle income status in 2015.”


Source: United News of Bangladesh