Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on Monday said the government – as part of its vision – is implementing a project aimed at creating 25,000 smart women entrepreneurs in the country.
She made the disclosure as chief guest at a programme titled, “Women in Business: Empowering Bangladesh Forward,” organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) at the Westin Hotel, Dhaka.
Shirin further said, “The project has initially been taken at the cost of Tk 250 crore in line with the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and also planned by PM’s ICT Affairs Advisor Sajib Wazed Joy.
“Under the project, necessary training and a capital of Tk 20,000 each will be provided at a time to those women entrepreneurs. Those smart women entrepreneurs would be a supportive force to build smart Bangladesh.”
Shirin pointed out that they have to ensure gender equality in all spheres of the society. The government is working relentlessly to build smart Bangladesh – including smart citizens, smart economy, smart government and smart society – by 2041.
“The women must be included in the blue economy,” she added.
Speaking there as the Guest of Honor, Deputy Chief of Mission of US Embassy in Dhaka Helen LaFave called upon women entrepreneurs to skill up on technology.
Mentioning a survey, AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed said Bangladesh's women's progress is hindered by a lack of skilled women professionals and a low labor participation rate compared to its global peers.
In Bangladesh, only 36 per cent of working-age females are engaged in the workforce compared with 81 per cent of men.
He added, “However, we believe in creating a ‘Gender Policy Council’ with public and private stakeholders to advance gender equity and equality across Bangladesh.
“A National Gender Strategy can be legislated under the National Social Protection Strategy (NSPS) of Bangladesh in addition to a to-be proposed revised National Women Development Policy 2010 to promote the rights and opportunities of women in business.”
The CEMS Global President and Group Managing director Meherun N Islam said the women are facing a lot of challenges while doing business.
“Access to finance is one of the biggest challenges for the country’s women entrepreneurs. Digital inclusion is now very significant for them,” she pointed out.
Country Managing Director for Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan at Oracle Bangladesh Ltd Rubaba Dowla moderated the discussion, while AmCham Vice President and also the Country Manager of Mastercard Bangladesh Syed Mohammad Kamal offered the vote of thanks.