The development of the country will be hindered if women's access to, and use of, technology is not increased.
Development workers and experts said this on Saturday, urging the government to undertake strong initiatives to incorporate women in technological education.
While speaking at a discussion styled "Gender and Youth Inclusiveness in Technology in Bangladesh," jointly organised by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) and ActionAid Bangladesh, they also called for raising social awareness about the use of technology by women and youths.
Additionally, they recommended that the government undertake special initiatives to spread technological education among marginalised women.
Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh presided over the event moderated by Dr Sayema Haque Bidisha, research director of the Sanem.
Mahtab Uddin, research economist of Sanem, presented the keynote paper at the programme.
Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury MP, deputy minister for education addressed the discussion as the chief guest, while Dr Selim Raihan, executive director of Sanem was present as special guest.
Mahtab Uddin, in his keynote paper, said, "Even though some initiatives have been undertaken to spread the use of technology among youths in the country, they are inadequate. Further, there is no mechanism to allow the youths and women easy access to participation in the technological education system."
Portraying a picture of the use of technology by marginalised women, he said the country will not be able to reach its anticipated development goal if women continue to lag behind in technology use in such a manner.
Also, it will also not be possible to fulfill the sustainable development goals.
Dr Selim Raihan said technology can play a vital role in bringing down poverty in the country.
"The realisation of our dream of 'Digital Bangladesh' completely depends on the use of technology. The only yardstick to measure how digital the country has become will be how accessible technology use is to the country's citizens," he maintained.
He, however, noted that the major reason behind women lagging behind in technology use is poverty. "Many of them might have access to technology, but, in most of the cases, quality is not maintained," he said. He urged the authorities concerned to take proper measures in this regard.
In the address of the chief guest, Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury said all types of development of the country were obstructed in the long 21 years of autocratic and anti-liberation regimes following the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Awami League, after assuming power in 1996, made efforts to bring the country forward by removing those obstructions. However, the country was again taken backwards during the period between 2001 and 2006, the deputy education minister said, adding that the government, since 2009, has been taking all types of measures for the technological advancement of the country.
The improvement in the information communication technology (ICT) sector is remarkable, he maintained.
The government took initiative to remove the age limit for vocational and technical education, but it was opposed by professionals, Muhibul said.
Highlighting various other government measures he said, "Digital centres have been set up at all union parishads of the country. ICT-related subjects have been made mandatory in the curriculum. Additionally, various measures have been taken to impart technology-related training on women and youths and raise awareness in this respect."
It is possible to bring all citizens under the coverage of technology within a short time, he concluded.
Anir Chowdhury, policy adviser, a2i Programme, Prime Minister's Office; Ayatul Islam, joint secretary (technical), Technical and Madrasah Education Division, Ministry of Education; Md Sayed Ali, deputy secretary (youth), Ministry of Youth and Sports; and Farhana Rahman, senior vice president, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) participated in the event as panel discussants.