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Netherlands Embassy signs contract to ensure more participation of female in STEM jobs in BD

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The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Bangladesh signed a contribution contract with a consortium for the programme titled “SheSTEM: Career Knows No Gender”.

LightCastle Partners, Bangladesh’s leading business consulting firm, is the lead of the consortium, according to a media release.

The event, held at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Office on Wednesday, was attended by other consortium partners: 10 Minute School, the a2i programme of the Ministry of ICT, Policy Exchange Bangladesh & DevLearn, and officials of the Embassy.

Effective from November (2023) to April 2026, the SheSTEM project will promote the participation of Bangladeshi females in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) math)-related jobs and increase their opportunities in STEM jobs via policy advocacy and skills development.

Speakers at the contract signing ceremony said that Smart Bangladesh will depend on innovation, tech adaptation, and a skilled workforce comprising all genders.

Development and advancement of innovation are directly correlated with growth in STEM subjects. Thus, it is vital to emphasise 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, they said.

Although Bangladesh (43 per cent) is striding ahead of our neighbouring countries in female participation in the workforce (i.e. India at 24 per cent and Pakistan at 25 per cent), 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, the release says.

SheSTEM is a consortium-driven programme that aims to serve as a nexus between public university students and public (primarily) and private businesses to increase skills, engagement, participation, equity, and inclusion in STEM careers.

The programme 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, sensitising and advocating for greater representation of women in STEM employment nationwide.

Addressing the event, the speakers said 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 release adds. 

The signing ceremony was graced by the Embassy’s Charge d'Affaires Thijs Woudstra; Bijon Islam, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LightCastles Partners; Dr. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange Bangladesh; Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, Head (Future of Education) of a2i; Mirza Salman Beg, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of 10 Minutes School; Nayeem Kashem, MEL Advisor of DevLearn, and relevant Embassy officials and team members of the consortium.

 

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