Women can outshine if get proper opportunity

9th March 2010, ActionAid ( Dhaka) Speakers at an experience sharing meeting today (Wednesday) observed that women can outshine if their get unhindered access to education, information and technology.

While sharing their experience at Bangladesh Shishu Academy women from across the country also highlighted their contribution and initiatives for utilizing information and indigenous technology in agricultural sector.

‘Education, science and technology will ensure women’s independence… s/he who ploughs land can also be able to operate laptop if they are taken care of…’ State Minister to the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology Yafes Osman said at the meeting.

ActionAid Bangladesh (AAB) organized the meeting marking the International Women’s Day titled ‘Women’s Rights, Challenges and Achievements in Education and Technology: Experience of Grassroots Women’.

‘Women’s have more concentration than men (in any task)… the new generation should take the responsibility of advancement… they will surely be able to bring the expected change’, the minister added emphasizing that the country has challenges and people will overcome it undoubtedly.

Moderated by the Country Director of ActionAid Farah Kabir, the programme was also addressed by Executive Director of UBINIG Farida Akter; Executive Director of D.Net Ananya Raihan; and Scientist and also Professor of Dhaka University (DU) Hasina Khan.

Grassroots women entrepreneurs from three districts shared their experience at the meeting. They are Monowara Begum, a basil tea cultivator and handicraft entrepreneur from Gaibandha, seed entrepreneur Rina Akhter from Satkhira and an initiator of rice bank of Neilphamary Rasheda Begum. They demanded direct access to the government’s agro-based facility scheme and also formal recognition of women farmer. 

‘Corporate business centering internet and some device is not the only means of technology’, said Farida Akter adding that the corporate has taken over the patent of our rural women’s indigenous knowledge of herbs. ‘… our knowledge is being continuously stolen and the corporate businessmen are making money from this. But we (women ) don’t have the recognition’.

Professor Hasina Khan shared her experience that women outshine where level-playing field exists. ‘… holding the women back isn’t possible if they are confident and able to overcome the glass ceiling… families should encourage them and help them to gain confidence,’ she said adding that women should be involved in science and technology for their own sake.

The three roles – productive; reproductive; and social and community – of women are technology based, said Ananya Raihan of D.Net. Citing statistics he said that one-third of total students in higher secondary are of science. Girls constitute only 18 percent of that. ‘Now time has come to decide how we can increase this participation since girls undoubtedly do better than boys if they get equal opportunity’.

AAB Country Director Farah Kabir demanded the government to ensure women friendly technology and expected that the National Women Advancement Policy will eventually be a women friendly policy.

 

During the daylong programme, Amena Khatun from Satkhira, Shahnaz Parvin from Barisal and Hawa Begum from Patuakhali received Nasreen Memorial Award respectively for their contribution in education, women empowerment and climate change in their locality. Former chairperson of International CEDAW Committee Salma Khan and President of Ulka Nari Sangha Mamtaj Begum were, among others, present at the award giving ceremony.

 

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