Home ›› 09 Mar 2023 ›› Stock
To ensure the progress of women, the mentality of men has to be changed first. Men have to have confidence in women’s ability to do any task, said Professor Dr Mahmuda Akhtar, executive president of the Bangladesh Institute of Capital Market (BICM).
Established in 2008, the BICM provides training on the stock market, offering Postgraduate Diploma in Capital Market to market professionals and graduates who aspire to pursue careers in this field.
In an exclusive interview with The Business Post marking International Women’s Day, Mahmuda shared her own experience and thoughts on women’s development and the obstacles to their progress. Some excerpts from the interview are given below.
What is your suggestion for spreading the importance of Women’s Day?
The latest statistics show that more than half of the country’s population is now female. It is impossible to achieve sustainable development if the mentality that women cannot do everything prevails in society, creating a gap between men and women.
We have to believe that there is no gap between men and women. We always think that there is a lot of difference in the performance of men and women. We must change this attitude.
Our prime minister is a woman. She has brought revolutionary changes in the empowerment of women in Bangladesh. A few days ago, metro rail was launched with a woman driver. I have also seen a woman driving the car of Dhaka University’s pro-VC. I am saying this because it would bring a big change in our thinking
that women also can do such jobs.
There is no doubt that the government has undertaken various initiatives for the development of women. But women are still lagging behind in many aspects. We have to change our mindset and make it visible at all levels of society.
As a working woman, do you face any problems?
As a working woman, it is very difficult to move forward in overcoming the problem. There is no one in our society who will support the rise of a girl from an ordinary family background.
I am a teacher at Dhaka University. If you look at a female teacher and a male teacher at the university, you will see how much a woman suffers. After delivering two lectures, the male teacher engages in research and study, but his female counterpart goes to spend time with their families. As a result, a woman naturally lags behind.
What is the way out of this problem?
Providing the daycare centre facility is important to ensure the proper utilisation of women’s potential in their workplace. If a woman goes to the office and has to worry whether her baby is fed or not, you will not get the desired service from her even after providing hundreds of facilities.
Not only in teaching, but many women are also involved in the corporate sector now. However, most of them end up quitting their job due to a lack of opportunities. In today’s difficult world, a family runs well if both the male and female partners are engaged in earning their livelihood.
If we cannot provide the facilities needed for a woman, the talks of equal rights will be in words only and not in reality. To ensure the progress of women, the first support must come from the family. The support of the husband, in-laws, and parents must be ensured first.
How can men be involved in advancement of women?
Another woman is never enough for a woman to advance. Be it in the workplace or family, male involvement is required.
To ensure the progress of women, the mentality of men has to be changed first. Men have to have confidence in women’s ability to do any task. Many men still do not have the mentality to support women in their work. They still think that women cannot do all kinds of work. But if a man and a woman share any work, it can be seen that it is possible to do it very easily.
How can women be involved with the capital market?
There are many women who do not work in the office but earn from the capital market. The government has various schemes through which women can now become entrepreneurs staying at home.
I think women have some special qualities for investing in the capital market. They can spend a lot of time online at home, acquiring knowledge about different companies. It is also true that women naturally prefer to take less risk. Many good products that are active in the capital market can be acceptable to everyone through women.
We have a free training programme, so that women can invest in the capital market. We also have several projects to bring women into the capital market. We need more budgets to develop our infrastructure.
Women should be shown the products where their investment will be protected. Now there are treasury bonds and mutual funds in the capital market. These should be brought before women. Only then it will be possible to increase the participation of women in the capital market.