Bangladeshi women club inducts man as president

Wives of the male teachers of Jahangirnagar University had formed a women's club in 1982, earmarking the position of the forum for wives of incumbent vice chancellors.

By: PTI | Dhaka | Published: December 6, 2016 6:20 pm
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A women’s club in Bangladesh has inducted a man as its president after his wife became the first woman vice chancellor of a university, giving him a chance to head the all-female body. Wives of the male teachers of Jahangirnagar University had formed a women’s club in 1982, earmarking the position of the forum for wives of incumbent vice chancellors. After over three decades of inception, the club was virtually compelled to amend its constitution to replace the word “wife” with “spouse” after the appointment of Professor Farzana Islam as vice chancellor of the public university.

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Farzana became the first woman to be the vice chancellor of a public university two years ago and simultaneously her husband appeared as the first man to take the charge of a women club as its president. “To tell you frankly, initially I felt nervous to be the only man in the club of women wondering how the women will receive me,” vice-chancellor’s spouse Akhtar Hossain told PTI.

Hossain, a businessman and litterateur, said he was initially reluctant to take the charge as the club’s constitution had earmarked the position for the vice-chancellor’s “wife”. Hossain said he took the charge as three months later the word “wife” was replaced with “spouse” in the constitution.

“I enjoy the moment particularly when I am introduced as the Chairperson of a Women Club. I don’t feel embarrassed as they (women) treat me as one of them,” he said. Club’s general secretary Kamrun Nessa Kafi said their forum faced a difficult situation when Farzana was appointed as the vice chancellor but “we overcame it soon”.

“Rather, the installation of a man as the president of Jahangirnagar University Women’s Club made some of our work easier in running the forum,” she said. Several members said under Hossain’s stewardship a pre-primary school, run by the club, was elevated to the status of a primary school maintaining high quality.

Hossain said he planned to take some more initiatives so its members could spend some quality and comfortable time in the club with better entertainment amenities. “I am also trying to reduce gaps between men and women, taking initiative to make inclusive environment in the club,” he added.

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