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Break the glass ceiling for women in business: Gowher Rizvi

Int'l Women SME Expo kicks off in Ctg

Our Correspondent | November 06, 2018 00:00:00

CHATTOGRAM, Nov 5: Dr Gowher Rizvi, the international affairs advisor to the Prime Minister, has called for breaking the glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching high positions in society.

He said there are two ways to break the glass ceiling. One way is through ensuring greater participation of women in business activities and the other is through allowing them to enter mainstream politics.

Dr Gowher Rizvi made the remarks while addressing a huge gathering of women entrepreneurs at the inaugural ceremony of the 12th International Women SME Expo Bangladesh 2018 at the historic Railway Polo Ground in the port city on Sunday evening.

The Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI) in association with the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), SME Foundation and Jute Diversification Promotion Centre has organised the month-long expo.

Speaking as the chief guest, Dr Gowher Rizvi said the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told this audience that women of Bangladesh remain on top of the list of gender equality in South Asia.

"It is really a matter of pride for us. But we don't want to stop here. You must move forward higher and higher, because women in Bangladesh account for 51 per cent of the total population," he said.

He, however, expressed his disappointment that the percentage of women entrepreneurs in the country is only 10.

He called on women entrepreneurs to come to Dhaka ahead of the upcoming national parliamentary election to talk to the leaders of different political parties and urge them to promise to create more space for women in the party's election manifesto.

He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes that the nation's social and economic advancement lies in the advancement of both men and women. She also believes that Awami League cannot come to power without broad support of women voters, he added.

"So, you have a scope to incorporate your demands into the election manifesto of the Awami League, as the AL's support base is dominated by female voters," said Dr Gowher Rizvi.

Sabiha Nahar Begum MP, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam, UAE Ambassador Sayed Mohammed Al Muhairy, Women Chamber president Monowara Hakil Ali and Expo Committee chairperson Dr Munal Mahbub also spoke at the inaugural ceremony.

Advisor Gowher Rizvi also distributed prizes among the award winners of the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC).

Those who won the awards are Monowara Hakim Ali, Lion Kamrun Malek, Ayesha Akhtar Dalia, Mantasa Ahmed, Syeda Zinnat Area Nipun, Sultana Nurjahan Rosy, Jasmine Akhtar, Sabrina Emram Siraji, Sharmin Hossain, Gulshana Ali, Nafiza Sharman, Ruhi Mostafa, Ayesha Farhad Chowdhury, Rebeka Nasrin, Abida Sultana, Dr Munal Mahbub and Rosina Akhtar Lipi.

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