The Dutch Embassy in Bangladesh signed a contribution contract with a consortium for the program titled “SheSTEM: Career Knows No Gender”.
LightCastle Partners, Bangladesh’s leading business consulting firm, is the lead of the consortium.
The event was joined by other consortium partners: 10 Minute School, the a2i programme of the Ministry of ICT, Policy Exchange Bangladesh & DevLearn, and officials of the Embassy held at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Office in the capital, according to a press release.
Effective from November (2023) to April 2026, 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 & skills development.
Speakers at the signing ceremony emphasised that smart Bangladesh will depend on innovation, tech adaptation, and a skilled workforce comprising all genders.
They highlighted that development and advancement of innovation is directly correlated to growth in STEM subjects.
Although Bangladesh (43%) is striding ahead of our neighbouring 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, according to the press release.
SheSTEM is a 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.
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 signing ceremony was graced by the Embassy’s Charge d'Affaires Thijs Woudstram, 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.