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Netherlands signs contract to ensure more participation of female in STEM jobs | Business

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

DHAKA, Nov 16, 2023 (BSS) – The Kingdom of the Netherlands, represented by the Embassy of the Netherlands 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, said a press release today.

The Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires Thijs Woudstra and Bijon Islam, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LightCastles Partners, signed the agreement on Wednesday on behalf of their respective sides.

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.

The function was informed that 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 it is vital to emphasize the STEM subjects and bring on board all genders, as it is not possible to 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 the 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. It is vital to decrease the gender gap to harness the full potential of the available talent.

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 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.