More Science for the Youth
On December 7, 2011 BWIT (Bangladesh Women in Technology) held an event in partnership with the Daily Star. The event was a discussion on encouraging women to embrace technology throughout the country. The chief guest of the event was Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher, of the Daily Star. Other guests included faculty members, teachers and students from different schools and universities.
BWIT is taking the initiative to empower women to achieve success through technology and drive change in the Bangladesh Technology Industry. Their mission is to encourage women in Bangladesh to opt for careers in technology and train them to grow, providing technology awareness as well as education, leadership development, networking and mentoring.
Courtesy: Naziba Basher
Their goal is to create a forum where women in technology can be recognised and promoted; and to encourage young women to participate in the technology industry as professionals and entrepreneurs providing leadership. Presently, women professionals and entrepreneurs do exist and are making significant contributions in their individual capacity in various institutions and fields. Under the Government 'Digital Bangladesh' policy and the thrust sector initiative an atmosphere exists for accelerated growth and meaningful engagement through active interaction. The forum will stretch across sectors and professions with the intention of harnessing powerful ideas, solutions and suggestions for women's development and for national development as well.
Gender balance is also a big issue in the Bangladeshi constitution and is an important part of the economic and social policy. Women have to play an effective part in securing real gender equality and in anchoring the gains made so far. The forum believes in inclusive growth and will strategise accordingly using best of breed models.
Editor and publisher of The Daily Star, Mahfuz Anam shared a few a words with the audience and started by showing respect to teachers and principals of the various schools for their hard work put into developing the minds of their students. He continued by explaining how Bangladesh's future can develop dramatically if women get more exposure. "The fundamental of science is a scientific mind and a scientific mind is one that follows logic. Not make-belief logic, but logic with explanation and proof," he said. He also emphasised on developing more women in society who will be able to bring about a change and make a difference with science and technology. "With the education in a field as such, women will be hard to suppress in society and will eventually have the ability to break male dominating barriers," he added. "Science in a weapon for women in gender struggle and social taboos." He concluded by saying how women are more diligent and serious as workers and researchers and thus, should play an active role in bringing about a change in industrialisation and development of Bangladesh.
Dr. Prof. Suraiya Parveen, Vice Chancellor, Dhaka University mentioned some incidents of female discrimination. She said, "Girls nowadays avoid technological education and don't opt for careers in the field. The lack of interest is leading girls to be less confident compared to men when issues based on technology and sciences are taken into consideration." She also added how BWIT is going to change the mindset of these young girls to help them become the future of technology in Bangladesh. "Parents and guardians have a big role to play in these girls' lives and they can bring a big change in them by breaking the barriers and giving them options and opportunities," concluded Parveen.
Apart from the guest, some students and teachers from schools and universities like Sunnydale, Sunbeams, Scholastica, Viqarunessa, University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB), Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB), Siddeswari Girls School and more were present and had asked questions and given their opinions on the matter.
Prottasha from Dhaka University had asked why technology and science are not taught from the root level of education to girls across the country and even in villages. The guests took in her suggestion and told her how the women present in the event from Microsoft, Dell and other big firms were already taking the initiative to give children that kind of an opportunity.
Laura from BWIT had mentioned how girls are discriminated against by forced lessons of needle work while the boys are busy with big projects at schools around Dhaka. "Women nowadays seem to be hunched over because they're used to looking down due to such discriminations. This has to be changed!" said Laura.
More students and parents had questions and also suggested ideas to develop the field of technology. A parent of a student from Sunnydale had also suggested an award for students who excel in science to ensure a goal to become scientists of the country that will motivate them to go further.
BWIT has opened new doorways for the women in this country. It has to take the whole society to work together and help change the mindsets through the means of science and technology and eventually build a better Bangladesh