“Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”

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The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) held a Seminar

titled “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” on March 10, 2024 at the Sheraton Banani (In Association With: Chevron Bangladesh and Mastercard), aligning with the UN’s call for International Women’s Day 2024. Dr. Dipu Moni, M.P., Honorable Minister, Ministry of Social Welfare, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, attended the event as the Chief Guest, Ms. Helen LaFave, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Dhaka attended as the Guest of Honor and Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed, President – AmCham joined as the Session Chair. On the occasion a discussion was organized where Ms. Rubaba Dowla, Country Managing Director-Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Oracle Bangladesh Limited moderated the discussion where Ms. Nafriza Shayma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Sonia Bashir Kabir, Founder & Managing General Partner, SBK Tech Ventures (licensed venture capital firm), Ms. Sarah Ali, Managing Director, FCB BITOPI, Guest of Honor Ms. Helen LaFave, participated as the designated discussant. Dr. Dipu Moni, M.P. delivered the keynote speech.

Women have more potential to contribute to the national economy if their unpaid household and other associated works are considered, said Social Welfare Minister Dipu Moni today. Currently, women contribute around 20 percent to the nation’s GDP, she said. Moreover, there is a pressing need to enhance the financial literacy of women, especially those belonging to lower-income segments, to facilitate their greater financial inclusion. Dipu Moni made the comments at a seminar titled “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh.

Recognizing the contribution that women play in household financial decision-making processes and ensuring their agency and control over their incomes are indispensable steps towards achieving genuine financial empowerment for women throughout Bangladesh, the minister added.

In Bangladesh, investing in women has become a moral imperative and a strategic policy decision with far-reaching implications across socio-economic, technological and political spheres. This commitment extends beyond gender-specific initiatives, influencing broader societal norms, fostering international collaboration, and contributing significantly to advancing global gender equality objectives. “By providing women with equal opportunities in education, employment and leadership roles, we unlock their full potential as contributors to the economy and society,” she said. “Empowering women enhances productivity and innovation, increasing economic output and competitiveness.”

AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed said female education in Bangladesh has experienced a profound transformation, shifting from restricted access to widespread enrolment. Recent data shows a significant increase in female literacy, now at 72.82 percent, closely following male literacy rates. “Women’s workforce participation has risen from 36 percent to 43 percent, reflecting significant progress,” he said. As per the findings of the “Global Gender Gap Report 2023”, released by the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh was in the top position among South Asian nations in terms of gender parity and 59th globally.

Mr. Al-Mamun M Rashel, Treasurer-AmCham and the Country Manager & Managing Director, NATco Packaging Bangladesh Ltd. offered the vote of thanks. Members of the Chamber including the Executive Committee Members, and former Presidents, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended the meeting.

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