June 12, 2019

Tasnuva Ahmed

Head of Operations, Colours FM 101.6Tasnu

We see more men working in sectors such as agriculture, industrial, transportation, construction, retail sales, STEM, etc. Women are exercising control over the garments manufacturing. Other sectors where we see women include telecommunication, doctors, lawyers, bankers and so on. It can be clearly seen that more men are involved in an occupation that requires more physical strength and a specific field of expertise. Sometimes, there is work that requires an employee to give more time than the usual hours. From the employer’s perspective, they think a man can do it better as he is not a caregiver to his family and there will hardly be any restriction from the family. But, women who are in the top have proven that they are no less than their male counterparts but then again the patriarchal society is not comfortable with a woman taking the lead. The male-female ratio for the position I hold will be 87:13 to be precise. This ratio, according to me, is not showcasing equality and I believe with proper governance we will be able to break through soon. I have been lucky enough to not face any prejudice while working in a ‘man’s world’. I am managing a radio station called Colours FM 101.6 that talks about the empowerment of women. This environment has helped me to grow internally and polish my skills further without any hinder.


Sabera Anwar

Panache Hub, Panache Events

According to me, a woman can be a statesman or a rickshaw puller. However, top positions in the corporate sectors are mostly driven by the male gender. Women are given fewer preferences except for customer service industries. The wage distribution is still dis-proportioned in certain sectors, whereas, government jobs are more open to women empowerment in terms of payment and position. In my area of work, the fashion industry is still dominated by the female. The ratio is actually scary. It is an approximate of 20:1. As much as women empowerment is necessary, I believe equal space should be provided to both the genders. The choice should be theirs regarding which path they are willing to take for their growth. Recently, a woman Pathao driver took our social media by storm when her bike got stolen. She has dared to break the social taboo by giving rides to anyone irrespective of their gender. Another case in India drew attention when for the first time in history a woman performed duty as a ‘kazi’ in matrimony. It’s time to treat women as human beings and not as a second gender above all other aspects. From my personal experience, I needed to work overnight with my male colleagues which created issues in my family at the beginning. Afterwards, they got accustomed to it and realized it’s simply a job that needs to be conducted. I am grateful that I was able to make my family reflect on my deeds, it is a small contribution to a greater enhancement of the society.  Though my neighbors are still skeptic regarding my work lifestyle. I believe, with an immense amount of patience and willpower even the social norms towards the standardized lifestyle for a woman will change.


Sayma Rahman

Head of Retail Partnership, Grameenphone

The mindset in Bangladesh is still the same in the broader spectrum where women are expected to fulfill household responsibilities or be in a very specific role in the workforce. With the current generation, we are seeing changes. Yet, we still have a long way to go. Change needs to start from home where children should be brought up with the same level of ambitions and life philosophy. From my experience and knowledge, the tech industry, universally, lack women professionals. Bangladesh is not an exception. Tech or telecommunication industry in Bangladesh has an extremely poor ratio of female leaders, may be less than 5%. Organizations like Grameenphone has taken initiatives to minimize the gender gap and promote more female leaders in key positions. Additionally, women, in general, need to step up and take challenges of bigger roles. However, life is all about creating a balance and every achievement requires a certain level of prioritization. My career in tech involved being a product manager, a project manager, and a partnership manager which are deemed ‘too techie’ and unfortunately, I hardly see many women choosing these fields of work despite being qualified. When I got into my first job, many people doubted my capability as the role required extensive tech knowledge and expertise. I had to overcome the perception through genuine interest in learning and sheer hard work. It took me years to be where I am today and make a place for myself which didn’t come easy. Along the way, I got support from amazing mentors and cheerleaders who taught me how to overcome those obstacles. Also, my family has been a constant pillar who supported my ambitions. Looking back today I can say there is no substitute for hard work.


Kehkasha Sabah

Art Curator

The gender work distribution is based on two major categories – physical and independence. A male freelancer receives more freedom. However, when it comes to delegating work to a female her entire margin of deliverance comes to a question. In terms of field work, men are more preferred to be recruited as they are physically more capable to travel. Women are deemed to be the weaker gender. I believe in equality, that the choice should be left on the gender themselves to decide on choosing their area of work. The concept of an art curator is still an alien concept in Bangladesh. The gender ratio at work is 2:10, in my case. Women should be equally focused on their work as much as they should be on their family. Men should be considerate of their better halves to grow and bloom in the field that she has received her education from. It should always be two-way communication. The designation is neither declared nor accepted. Due to this, I always had to bring all of my projects by myself, that is, with hardly any external help. The professional nature of being an artist is as delusional as it is. From earning to working hours, nothing is stable; it is versatile. The usual hinders that I have to face are that hardly anyone understands or reflects upon the lifestyle of a female artist is similar to that of a male artist.  For example, networking parties or the necessity of having to work till late is fair when it comes to a man. Female artists barely have full freedom of space and time to excel. The trick is to, include the family members, and make them understand your work and the external responsibilities that you need to cater to. This way, with time, a mutual understanding will form.

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