To celebrate women’s entrepreneurship in global business and International Women’s Day 2023,
AmCham Bangladesh titled this month’s Luncheon “Women in Business: Empowering Bangladesh Forward”. The Luncheon was held at the Westin Hotel, Dhaka on March 06, 2023. Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, M.P, Honorable Speaker, Bangladesh National Parliament, 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. Meherun N. Islam, President & Group Managing Director of CEMS Ltd and Guest of Honor Ms. Helen LaFave, DCM, U.S. Embassy Dhaka participated as the designated discussant.
The speaker said women around the world are doing business in different fields and the Bangladesh government is encouraging our in doing business. Access to finance is a major hindrance but the government has taken a good number of initiatives including collateral free loans and budgetary allocation to help women in business. The parliament speaker said currently women are contributing to the national economy and hopes they will contribute more in the coming days.
The AmCham president Ershad Ahmed said Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs conducted a survey based on different components finds Women Labor Force Participation is placed 2nd from the bottom in Bangladesh showing it very poor. He said in Bangladesh, only 36 per cent of working-age females are engaged in workforce compared with 81 per cent of men. He said women’s financial inclusion, support for SMEs, and women’s tertiary education rate is ranked at the bottom of the table among all countries. He also referring International Labor Organization said women’s business ownership has slightly changed from 2019 to 2020, from 4.3 per cent to 4.5 per cent. He said these findings show the actual scenario of women’s struggles in Bangladesh regarding entrepreneurship is very poor.
Ms. LaFave the deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in Dhaka said Women entrepreneurs need to be more skilled in digital technologies in order to avail the advantages of modern technology so that they can give a boost to their businesses. She laid emphasis on inclusive growth of Bangladesh by creating more employment opportunities for women. Ms. Rubaba said negative mindset is a major impediment to women’s empowerment in the country. “In my company, I wanted to recruit more women, but I hardly got 20 per cent skilled women in ICT,” she added. Meanwhile, Ms. Meherun said social as well as state support is necessary to help women move forward. ” The CEMS president suggested that the government bridge the digital divide by extending support to women. In an open discussion, speakers stressed the need for encouraging women’s footprint in blue economy. AmCham President called for working together to break the barriers that hold women back. He also urged to create an inclusive society to inspire more women pursue their growth across the country.
Mr. Syed Mohammad Kamal, Vice President-AmCham and the Country Manager, Mastercard coordinated the event and offered vote of thanks and among others members of the chamber body including the executive committee members, executive director, former presidents, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended.