On November 15, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh signed a contribution contract for the program “SheSTEM: Career Knows No Gender” with LightCastle Partners, the lead of the consortium. The event was joined by the consortium partners: 10 Minute School, the a2i programme of the Ministry of ICT, Policy Exchange Bangladesh & DevLearn and officials of the Embassy. The SheSTEM project will promote the participation of Bangladeshi females in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) related jobs and increase their opportunities in STEM jobs via policy advocacy.
Smart Bangladesh will depend on innovation, tech adaptation, and a skilled workforce comprising all genders. Development & advancement of innovation is directly correlated to growth in STEM subjects. Thus is it vital to emphasize the STEM subjects and bring on board all genders, as we cannot thrive fully if more than half of the able workforce is lagging or not fully participating and contributing to development.
Although Bangladesh (43%) is striding ahead of our neighboring countries in female participation in the workforce (i.e. India at 24% and Pakistan at 25%), female STEM graduates and participation in the workforce in STEM jobs remain low. It is vital to decrease the gender gap to harness the full potential of the available talent.
SheSTEM is a multi-year, consortium-driven program that aims to serve as a nexus between public university students and public (primarily) & private businesses to increase skills, engagement, participation, equity, and inclusion in STEM careers. SheSTEM aims to equip women students with in-demand advanced business- and critical-thinking skills combined with their STEM knowledge; on the other hand, the project actively promotes gender-inclusive public recruitment strategies, sensitizing and advocating for greater representation of women in STEM employment nationwide. The goal is not only to attract more women to STEM disciplines but, more importantly, to support their growth, development, and advancement within these fields. SheSTEM aspires to expedite the process of women’s involvement and empowerment in STEM fields, driving meaningful progress and fostering a more diverse and inclusive workforce in Bangladesh.
The signing ceremony was graced by the Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires, Mr Thijs Woudstra, Mr. Bijon Islam, CEO of LightCastle Partners, Dr. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange Bangladesh; Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, Head (Future of Education) of a2i; Mr Mirza Salman Beg, COO of 10 Minutes School, Mr Nayeem Kashem, MEL Advisor of DevLearn and relevant Embassy officials and team members of the consortium.