November 26, 2018

Online platform has now become an indispensable part of our life. It has become so integrally related to our life that we cannot avoid it. So, using this platform can be the key for many women to get themselves acquainted and self-dependent. The aim of this discussion of Women in Leadership (WIL) Fest was to treasure how a woman can utilize this platform to be visible online.

The panelists for this session were Jhumur Sayeda, Media Director, Top of Mind; Jannatul Ferdoush Peya, Model, Actress, Lawyer; Monoshita Ayurani, Director, WebAble Digital; and Elita Karim, Singer, Journalist and Anchor.

Jhumur Sayeda begins the discussion by throwing a question regarding difference between female being visible online and male being visible online. Jannatul Ferdoush Peya answers this by expressing her opinion about the thinking pattern of men and women. This pattern varies as because they are taught differently from the very childhood. She elaborates, women are taught to play with certain feminine toys to keep their feminine personality intense. She thinks that there’s nothing wrong with the women being online. She stressed of the fact how a society perceives a woman when she comes online and talks about cosmetics and sarees. On the contrary, when men talk about cars or mobiles online, society appreciates that. She finds nothing wrong when a woman talks about these things online as she wants to make a business out of it; which is good.

Monoshita Ayurani sheds light on the issue regarding Bangladeshi social media concept where she sees the ratio of women being online is lesser than that of men. But she thinks that the ability to generate more contents is greater among women than men. She explains that people easily make judgements when women starts talking about a car instead of a saree. She focuses on the fact that this is where people need to change their perception. Jumping to conclusion a little later and giving more confidence to her can generate much enthusiasm as maybe she wants to make a career out of it.

Stretching the discussion further, Elita Karim expresses her proud feelings of seeing strong women heading groups and teams. Bringing out the examples of some companies giving preference to hire women over men, she told that they are somehow making a point to make women visible online through LinkedIn or any other social media presence of their company and thus ensuring gender diversity.

Jhumur Sayeda then brings out the fact that often in jobs she has seen women are evaluated with their looks while men are evaluated with their job attributes. Being asked of how to overcome this situation, Elita says that this situation may vary person to person. Though she faces less of this experience in her job, she admits that this problem is acute in the corporate level. Focusing on the systems and formalities of the corporate world, Elita stresses on the unfair situation women have to face every day.

Bringing the discussion forward, Jhumur talks about the issue of the functions in Bangladesh where women tend to be more conscious about their looks than men. Then again she tells that women are influenced in such ways to be more focused on their looks as they need to present themselves attractively on social media. So, talking about the issue of what the key takeaways should be from this scenario and how it’s influencing the women out there, Peya says that this should be taken positively by the people out there as everyone needs to be conscious of their appearance at a certain point of time. But then again, she admits that there should be a limit. Everybody doesn’t have that support to go outside and explore. So, women should come out of their cocoon to explore things and convert the thought process into a meaningful one; be it an online business or anything similar to entrepreneurship.

Adding to the discussion, Monoshita says that not only women but also men are also becoming conscious about their looks nowadays. As there are certain examples of men to look good on social media. The message here is that, if someone looks gorgeous, a reflection of their real life is presented on social media; which should be respected in both of the cases.

Drawing an example of people’s appearance in parties and functions, Elita adds, if someone inspires her to look good along with working harder, that can be the learning point. She also admits that the online platform is also a superficial one. And the appearance here varies from person to person.

At the end of the discussion, Jhumur wants to know the panelists’ opinion about how they can help women around them to be more visible online and their expectation from WIL to have an impact on this role.

Monoshita says about seeing things open mindedly as all the women in Bangladesh don’t have the same privileges as the already established women, to explore things often. Everything that they take for granted, is a privilege for the ordinary women out there. She says that she would love to encourage people to wildly pursue their passions. Talking about people’s perception on attribute vs looks, Monoshita says this issue in our culture should be rebuilt through organizations, family and friend and thus encourage women to get things done smoothly.

Elita talks about technically sharing everything online that really inspires someone about their stories. Elita would love to ask others to spend some time and inspire others to do the same as well. She seems optimistic of the fact that if we do so and share the stories belonging to others online, this can inspire others to meet new people as well. She hopes that WIL can play the role in this context to make people good leaders by encouraging them to be serious about their action.

And finally, Peya shares her insights on being independent both financially and mentally. The youths should also be sincere about their passion and that passion will pave the way to be more professional and make an image online. If they do that, they can be capable of making their own decisions. She hopes that WIL can help people to be the leaders by being good followers at first.

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