DHAKA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh has been a country that has had a female head of state since the 1990s.
In the country of about 160 million people, girls' education has improved the lives of women to a large extent although they still face various forms of discrimination within the family, the community and in institutional settings.
Hundreds of women took to the streets of Bangladesh's capital city of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country on Wednesday, calling for equal treatment to women in the country.
To foster more women rights, the Bangladeshi government and various organizations arranged a series of programs on Wednesday, International Women's Day.
The national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines operated a special all-female crewed flight to mark the day.
The day's program began with many rallies in parts of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country that saw both females and males taking part.
Bangladesh's national dailies published special supplements while television and radio broadcast various programs to mark the day.
Bangladeshi State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki addressed a meeting in Dhaka, saying the country has achieved significant progress in the field of female empowerment.
"It's time for us to change our patriarchal mindset toward women in all spheres of our society," she said.
Hundreds of women who joined the rallies in parts of Dhaka stressed the need for more economic empowerment of women and urged women to be self-reliant, which would lead to greater dignity and elevate their quest to gain equal status in society.
They also stressed the need for further upholding the dignity and honor of the country's women by creating favorable opportunities for them.
Shanta Kabir, an entrepreneur, said: "I think every single second of the year is very important. As humans, we have a lot of things to do. We observe Father's Day, Mother's Day, Women's Day, and Friend's Day. I don't think it is culturally bad to observe one special day for women."
"Many Bangladeshi women are still neglected. In almost every house there is a girl. We would expect that at least on this day males in the home should take more care of their female family members and show them more importance."
Shahnaj Sharmin, a local TV journalist, said one day of the year set aside for women is not a big deal.
"Actually we observe the day in a symbolic sense. This is the day when we encourage women and boost up their morale. And finally the day comes to us every year as a reminder of women's rights," she said.
It is really good that there is at least one day specially for women, she added.
International Women's Day was on March 8 this year and the 2017 campaign theme was "Be Bold For Change."
Since 1975, the United Nations has celebrated International Women's Day which commemorates the struggle for women's rights.