They all achieved leading positions in different sectors -- from business to journalism -- through dedication, grit and creativity, which was not easy for them as women in a mostly male-dominated society. But one common condition made it possible for all of them: support from their families.
A number of high-achieving women shared their journey to success yesterday, at a discussion tilted “Encouraging and Influencing Young Minds to Dream” held at the CA Bhaban in the capital.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) organised the event marking International Women's Day (March 8).
Working in a male-dominated sector -- transport -- was not easy for Maliha Malik Quadir, managing director of Shohoz.com, a major player in digitising the transportation industry in Bangladesh.
Hard work and dedication are important to achieve trust in business, while family environment is more important for continuation, said the Harvard graduate.
From 1991 to date, journalism profession has taught Shumona Sharmin to “walk through storms.” She is currently serving as the feature editor of Bangla daily Prothom Alo. “Journalism is riskier for women than men… However, those who get support from their family do well in journalism,” she said.
The general perception about the indigenous society is that the women are free there. But Hla Shing Nue, executive director of Bolipara Nari Kalyan Samity (BNKS), differed with this: “In the early stage of my career, people teased me when they saw a UN agency vehicle waiting for me.” She also recognised support from his husband, father-in-law and other members in her in-laws' family. “The most important thing for a woman is whether she is independent to make decision or not.”
Like them, support from family played important roles in the success of Brig Gen (retd) Razia Khanam; Mahzabin Ferdous Sharna, head of brand and corporate communication of IPDC; Sheela R Rahman, consultant of IFC (South Asia); and event planner Tootli Rahman.
Nine women chartered accountants who qualified recently were accorded reception at the programme.
Speaking as chief guest, eminent education and literacy campaigner Rasheda K Choudhury said, “Around 80 percent women are victims of harassment in their own homes. Women's participation in workplaces has increased, but their participation in decision-making has not increased proportionately.”
Reserved seat lawmaker Aroma Dutta said, “Chartered Accountants are instrumental in doing the job of accounting and auditing. They have been doing this with utmost sincerity and honesty. It is encouraging that women are coming to this profession.”
According to ICAB, there are around 4,000 CAs in the country against the demand of 12,000. Of them, some 127 are women.