Promoting Gender Equality in STEM: Leaders Gather for Roundtable Discussion in Bangladesh

In a concerted effort to champion gender equality in the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), a consortium of esteemed leaders convened in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for a pivotal Roundtable Discussion on March 6th, 2024. Organized by a2i, supported by the ICT Division, and hosted at the ICT Tower in Agargaon, the event illuminated the imperative for increased investment and advocacy in STEM education and employment opportunities for women across Bangladesh.

The gathering brought together an array of distinguished personalities spanning government, academia, research, and private sectors, underscoring a collective commitment to dismantling barriers and fostering inclusivity within STEM fields. Notable attendees included Honourable State Minister Simeen Hussain (Rimi) from the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Professor Dr. Sitesh, Pro Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University, and Dr. Mahmuda Naznin, a Professor at the Department of Computer Science & Engineering in BUET, among others.

The discourse, moderated by Meenara Khondker, a Business Consultant from LightCastle Partners, delved into multifaceted issues ranging from the need for increased female representation in STEM to the pivotal role of policy interventions in nurturing a conducive environment for women’s participation and advancement in these domains.

Md. Mamunur Rashid Bhuiyan, Joint Secretary and Project Director of Aspire to Innovate (a2i), emphasized the strategic importance of bolstering female representation in STEM, aligning with Bangladesh’s vision for a “Smart Bangladesh.” He advocated for robust support systems to catalyze women’s active engagement in STEM disciplines, countering prevalent misconceptions about their aptitude in these fields.

Mushfiqua Zaman Satiar, a Senior Policy Advisor to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, highlighted the nexus between economic independence and women’s empowerment in STEM, advocating for tailored policy measures to fortify their involvement. She emphasized the indispensable role of comprehensive support structures in empowering women to thrive in STEM domains.

Throughout the discussion, participants articulated a range of actionable insights and recommendations, from early investment in girls’ education to the establishment of equitable work environments and the importance of role models in challenging stereotypes and inspiring future generations.

In conclusion, the Roundtable underscored the urgency of concerted efforts to bridge the gender gap in STEM, heralding initiatives like SheSTEM as instrumental in propelling socio-economic development and fostering inclusive growth in Bangladesh. As the nation charts its course towards a technologically advanced future, the imperative of harnessing the full potential of its female talent pool remains paramount.

 “SheSTEM is committed to inspiring, educating, and empowering women to pursue rewarding careers in STEM. We are devoted to enhancing industry academia collaborations, increasing employability skills, and advocating for gender equitable practices. 

SheSTEM is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and implemented by 10 Minute School,  a2i  Aspire to Innovate, DevLearn, LightCastle Partners and, Policy Exchange Bangladesh.


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