Bangladesh Defies Hardliners, Elects First Female Speaker
Bangladesh has followed India and Pakistan as the third South Asian country to elect a woman as parliament speaker, defying a threat by the Hefajat-e-Islam organisation, which warned the government not to promote women.
Hefajat-e-Islam on April 6th set a 30-day deadline for the government to abandon the policy of women's empowerment – which it described as "free mixing of men and women" -- or face a shutdown of Dhaka on May 5th.
But the ruling Awami League went ahead anyway, voting unanimously on April 30th to elect lawyer Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury as speaker of the unicameral Jatiya Sangsad after her predecessor Abdul Hamid was elected president.
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