A Catholic lawyer has become the country’s first female Christian member of parliament in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
Gloria Jharna Sarker, a mother of two, will represent the ruling Awami League party in Bangladesh’s Lower House.
The Awami League retained power by winning national elections on Dec. 30 by a landslide.
“I thank God for this blessing, and I am grateful to many women and my Christian community who supported and prayed for me all these days. This is a victory for all,” Sarker told ucanews.com.
She said she wants to work for the empowerment of women and the rights of minority Christians.
“I hail from a southern coastal region [Khulna], where women are mostly poor, powerless and voiceless. I would like to contribute to their development and give them a voice. Also as a Christian I will do whatever is necessary for the empowerment and protection of rights of the community,” she said.
The Awami League was allotted 43 places for 50 seats reserved for women in the Jatiya Sangsad (National Assembly) and submitted its list to the Election Commission on Feb. 12.
The commission validated the list on Feb. 13 and selection should be finalized by March 4.
Sarker is the third Christian parliamentarian since Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971.
Nirmol Rozario, president of Bangladesh Christian Association says he expects her to work for the advancement of the Christian community’s rights.