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Nasrul Hamid: PM Hasina keen to create more scopes for women in every sector

Staff Reporter:

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is keen to create more scopes for women in every sector.

“This is her agenda. So you should not consider it as an opportunity for women to work in the power sector or engineering profession, this is women’s right,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at a function celebrating International Women’s Day.

Hamid said there is no question of comparison between men and women.

“Those who will come with appropriate skills they will get the chance. We will ensure equal opportunity for women and men,” he said.

Hamid endorsed the Shoktikonna initiative through a video message for the applications campaign in October 2023.

Chargé d’Affaires, Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Dr Bernd Spanier addressed the audience, stating that ‘under the EU Global gateway Strategy, and through a Team Europe approach, the EU is committed to supporting gender equality in the energy sector, and more generally, to making energy and power more inclusive.

“To this end, we need everybody on board. We need all the ideas,” he said.

In a significant stride towards empowering young women in the fields of engineering and STEM, the Shokti Konna initiative celebrated the graduation of its second cohort on International Women’s Day, heralding a new era of female leadership in Bangladesh’s green energy transition.

The event, organized by Devtale Partners in collaboration with the European Union Delegation to Bangladesh, GIZ, the World Bank, and USAID, was held at the Sheraton Banani, Dhaka, marking a momentous occasion in the journey towards gender equality in the energy sector.

Md Habibur Rahman, Senior Secretary, Power Division, MoPEMR, and Munira Sultana, Chairman, SREDA, participated as special guests.

The event not only celebrated the achievements of the 75 graduates but also aimed to inspire these young women to continue their professional journeys in the energy and power sector.

Shoktikonna, a grassroots-driven initiative led by DevTale Partners, aims at empowering young women engineers and STEM graduates actively contributing to the green energy transition.

It will help increase young women’s engagement in the energy and power sector in Bangladesh by supporting access to employment opportunities and decision-making roles.

The initiative is actively supported by the European Union, the Word Bank (WB), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and USAID.

The Shoktikonna initiative serves as a dynamic space for tomorrow’s women leaders, as well as a pioneering platform for sharing knowledge on energy and gender-inclusive policies and best practices.

Ditte Juul Jørgensen, Director General for Energy of the European Commission (DG ENER) and the World Bank Country Director to Bangladesh, shared their supporting video message forShoktikonna initiative.

Following the success of the ShoktiKonna first cohort last year, the ShoktiKonna second cohort started in November 2023 with 75 female candidates who were admitted through a competitive application process.

These engineering students and young professionals have since completed almost 70 hours of online learning modules and virtual training sessions with international experts on various topics from Everyday Leadership to Renewable Energy transition.

The event was opened by a video from the EU social media campaign #SheisWe to celebrate this year’s Women’s Day theme “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”.

It was also an opportunity for a spontaneous engagement and interaction between the participants and a panel of 5 prominent women leaders: Munira Sultana, Chairman SREDA, Sonja Kuip, Charge d’Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh, Dr Fariah Mahzabeen, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Navanita Sinha, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women, Nayoka Martinez Bäckström, Deputy Head, Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka.

GIZ was also represented by Werner Lange, Coordinator Textile Cluster.

Gayle Martin, Operations Manager, the World Bank said the Shoktikonna initiative, organized by Devtale Partners, supported by WePOWER network, stands as a beacon of innovation in fostering collaboration to empower young graduates in shaping their careers within the energy sector.

“This initiative not only signifies a concerted effort towards gender equality but also embodies the collective support of The World Bank EU, GIZ, and USAID. Despite persistent disparities, particularly in STEM fields, such as engineering, where female enrollment remains alarmingly low at 8%, collaborative efforts like Shoktikonna pave the way for change. Recognizing the importance of collaboration, the World Bank is committed to partnering with power sector entities to create an inclusive environment for female participation. Through initiatives like WePOWER, which promote normative changes in STEM education, collaboration becomes the cornerstone for fostering gender equality in the power sector.”

Arif Raihan Maahi also added that “Devtale Partners, a specialized advisory facility, aims to scale the initiative for the next cohort to ensure more women, youth can join the sector with right skill and leadership ambitions. We also see a growing interest from the private sector, which will be crucial in the green transition of Bangladesh.”

The celebration of International Women’s Day through this event brought into focus the critical link between gender equality and sustainable development.

By supporting the next generation of female professionals in the energy sector, the Shokti Konna initiative is contributing to the global efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly ensuring affordable and clean energy for all.

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