Accomplished architect and Tagore artiste Shahzia Islam is the director of Vistaara Architects Ltd. The architectural farm's notable designs include Bashundhara City, Grameenphone Corporate Head Office, Eastern Bank Head Headquarter, Banglalink Head Office, Robi Head Office, Radisson Bay View Hotel, The Westin Hotel and more.
Shahzia believes that women, in general, are always neglected in our male-dominated society. They often face discrimination and pass many obstacles -- at home and work.
“After passing from BUET, I joined a private firm where I often faced discrimination in subtle forms by my male colleagues. My employer did not let me visit any project sites. When we established Vistaara -- with my husband Mustapha Khalid and another architect Foyz, as a director I recruited a number of women and gave them equal access. My husband has been very supportive from the beginning,” she said.
“Women are at the forefront in many sectors but we are not truly free yet. In our country, women have been subjected to exploitation for decades for various reasons. Until women and girls are liberated from discrimination and injustice, all our work goes in vain. Women's role is significant in families. Women should be allowed to live with dignity,” Shahzia added.
International Women's Day is a global event celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. When the architect thinks about Bangladeshi women and their present situation, she feels frustrated. She said, “Many women in our country have no knowledge about their fundamental rights. I believe, the women of Bangladesh are bold, and gradually, they have become more conscious about their needs and rights.”