Lightshore Foundation, BITM jointly organised a virtual meeting titled "Girls in ICT Day" focusing on accelerating women's Involvement in the IT Sector.
The mediators participated in a discussion on challenges of women's participation in the IT sector at the event moderated by Tanzila Munia, a member of the Lightshore Foundation.
Among the mediators were Emrajina Islam, Md. Shahriar Hasan, Nazia Hasan, Shuvashish Roy, ABM Jabed Sultan Piyas, Talukder Mohammad Shabbir, said a media release.
The discussion was attended by about 60 women and youth from across the country. According to the organisers, at present, about 25% of female students are studying information technology at the university level.
According to government estimates, only 12% of women work in information technology in the workplace. Another survey by Bangladesh Open Source Network found that only 1% of female students studying information technology are interested in taking up programming as a career in the future.
Emrajina Islam, Co-Founder of Emrajina Technologies said," It's really a lot of hassle to do something like a girl in Bangladesh. However, if you have the desire, enthusiasm, smartness, and a little bit of support from the family, it is very much possible. At my company, Emarajina Technologies, girls seem to work more honestly and harder than the boys. Dedication for work is also seen more in girls than in boys when they are provided a comfort zone."
ABM Jabed Sultan Pias, head of Business of daily Prothom Alo, said, "In Prothom Alo, women always get priority. A woman-friendly atmosphere has always existed in the media of Bangladesh. And you would be happy to know that there is a policy to follow while joining at Prothom Alo that all-male colleagues need to read a book on feminism and strictly adhere to it."
Md Sahariar Hasan, national consultant of A2i ICT Division said, "The government has zero tolerance for the harassment of girls on online platforms. However, support from the law can be obtained only when a written GD is filed. So we have to make these allegations with courage. And online careers are global, they have no boundaries. The range of online careers is much higher, especially for girls in this sector. Payment is also much higher, you can do this by developing your own skills."
Shuvashish Roy, head of Business of The Daily Star said, "Journalists now have to work and survive with the knowledge of ICT whether it is a boy or a girl. We are also moving forward along the path of digital Bangladesh. We need more girls in ICT, we have to bring equality of opportunity. It is necessary to create awareness in the society, more initiatives are needed from the government. Girls in ICT are essential to the future survival of the economy."
Nazia Hasan, head of Design at Design & API said, "We need a big change in the field of education, it should start from the very beginning. We have to try to create curiosity in children from an early age. Girls need to be encouraged to enter the ICT sector through various competitions."
Talukder Mohammad Shabbir, director & CEO – of BITM said, "At the beginning of the BITM course, the participation of girls was almost negligible. Yet that is not too much, about 15-20%. Probably a factor as to why they're doing so poorly. Boys are more likely to be seen in ICT sector courses, which is not desirable at all. Overall, where more than 40% of the girls should be present, not more than 20% of us have never come here as participants, which is sad."
Lightshore Co-founder Sultana Razia said if women's participation in the ICT sector is not increased, women will lag behind in terms of empowerment. Lightshow will conduct training on Technical skills development, workshops on STEMs, a hackathon on ARCTs and raise awareness on increasing ICT participation of women.
Daily Ittefaq and Radio Capital were the broadcast partners in this event. The youth collaborators were DEC Engineers Club, Lal Sabuj Society, and UNYSAB-Barisal Divisional Wing.