“Women Power – the Force Multiplier”

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The virtual panel discussion took take place in the presence of…

Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, M.P., Honorable Speaker – Bangladesh National Parliament as the “Guest of Honor” and Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed, President – AmCham as the “Session Chair”.
PANELISTS: Dr. Rubana Huq, Managing Director, Mohammadi Group & President, BGMEA, Ms. Uzma Chowdhury, CFO & Director of PRAN-RFL Group & Ms. Rubaba Dowla, Managing Director, Oracle Bangladesh.
MODERATOR: Ms. Luna Shamsuddoha, Member, AmCham & Chairperson, Dohatec New Media.

AmCham has evaluated the pandemic situation very closely & took a conscious call to address the issues of evolving Women Entrepreneurship, who contribute a lot for the economic growth of the country. In recent years we saw the rate of new business formation by women has significantly risen in Bangladesh. Still in many cases, opportunities and incentives are unfavorable for women to begin businesses, even when they have the abilities and knowledge. The fact remains that women in Bangladesh have less access than men to finance, productive resources, services and opportunities, putting them at a disadvantage in participating and contributing to socioeconomic development.

As we already know the outbreak of Coronavirus affects sturdily to the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprise (CMSME) sector in Bangladesh, around 80% women owned CMSME got disrupted and rest are in quite vulnerable state. Several steps are being taken by the government to boost the business and continued subsidies for CMSME’s. The recognition of women entrepreneurs’ needs in the CMSME category is well appreciated, especially since women entrepreneurs have been demanding dedicated support for the revival of their businesses. However, the overall disbursement of most stimulus packages is still not encouraging. We understand the government is determined to develop the overall CMSME keeping in view of the goals set out to achieve SDG and graduate from LDC becoming a middle-income country which we believe can be achieved by focusing a little more on this aspect of Economy. Women’s economic participation and their ownership and control of productive assets speed up development, help overcome poverty, reduce inequalities, and improve children’s nutrition, health, and education.

AmCham believes these support suggestions from the discussion will aim to facilitate linkages between CMSME and Government institutions for further advice and support increasing the resilience and help the affected women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh improve capacity enhancement initiatives. Mr. Showkat Ali Sarkar, AmCham Executive Committee Member coordinated the discussion and delivered the vote of thanks where a good number of AmCham members including the Executive Committee Members, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, media representatives and other distinguished guests attended.