রবিবার, ১৪ এপ্রিল ২০২৪, ১১:৩৭ পূর্বাহ্ন

British Council organises Symposium on Women in STEM in Bangladesh

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Update : শুক্রবার, ৮ ডিসেম্বর, ২০২৩

Staff Reporter, Dhaka : The British Council has organised a Symposium on Women in STEM in Bangladesh on 05 December 2023, at 5 Fuller Road, Dhaka. The event was organised to emphasise a pressing issue of recent time, the importance of women’s meaningful participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

According to the World Bank’s Bangladesh Country Gender Assessment 2021, women comprise only 14% of all STEM professionals in Bangladesh. According to ILO (International Labour Organisation), over the next two decades, women’s jobs that don’t require STEM skills will be put at risk. Additionally, even though females are doing better than males in both primary and secondary levels, fewer girls are enrolling in STEM at the tertiary level. According to research, only 38 per cent of female students enrol in STEM in public institutions, and 45 per cent enrol in STEM in private institutions.

As Bangladesh becomes ready to confront an array of complex challenges — from economic stagnation to climate change to global health epidemics to rising inequality — the role of STEM has become instrumental in the technology-driven world. There is a direct correlation between the development of a country and its practice of science and technology. And the participation of women in STEM occupations is crucial.

Adrian Chadwick, Regional Director, South Asia, British Council, in his welcome remarks said, “The gender gap in STEM is a shared global challenge and we are focusing on three key stages of women’s careers: access, progression, and leadership. Access is one of the most critical factors for underrepresentation and since 2018, we have supported 100 women across South Asia to take master’s degrees in STEM at UK universities. On progression, we are working in partnership with South Asian governments and universities to establish policies for professional development of women in STEM at all levels, providing opportunities to advance in their careers; and on leadership, we have focused on researching the key barriers and supporting women empowerment, particularly of 100 young female leaders across South Asia that are breaking barriers in their own fields.”

The event consisted of panel discussions and a round table. Findings from the round table discussions will shape future research and guide next year’s activities for UK alumni in STEM.

British Deputy High Commissioner and Development Director, Matt Cannell, said, “It was great to see and hear from such talented professionals today at the ‘Symposium on Women in STEM in Bangladesh’. The UK’s new White Paper makes clear that science and technology has a major role in tackling development. We know that women play a vital role in our tech-driven world, and we need full representation in order to build an equitable, sustainable future for all. The UK is delighted to be working with the Government of Bangladesh to develop inclusive policies that can empower women and girls to fulfil their potential. Let’s bridge the gap and create a future where gender is no barrier to success.”

The speakers for the panel discussion consisted of Professor Haseena Khan, Member, University Grants Commission; Professor Md. Abdus Samad, Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Dhaka; and Dr Alifa Bintha Haque, Board Member, WildTeam, Assistant Professor, Zoology, University of Dhaka.

Anika Ali President of Imperial College London Alumni Association of Bangladesh, Managing Director, TechStar Satcom, Chairperson, Techno Green-Carbon Limited, and Dr Mustak Ibn Ayub, Assistant Professor, Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Dhaka moderated the symposium. Academicians, educators, and ministry representatives were present at the event.


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