Beyond the confines of their businesses, some women in Bangladesh have pursued the opportunity to extend their reach and scope of influence on their communities, with the view to contributing to social transformation.
From individual businesswomen to social entrepreneurs, they shared their time, knowledge, experience and expertise with other women in their communities to transform communities into collective enterprises. For this innovation, these women have gained the recognition from their counterparts in developed countries, particularly the United States of America.
Recently, eight women from Bangladesh, including members of the WINNER-Bangladesh, were selected to be part of the international leadership program, an intensive month-long training of women leaders, under the sponsorship of the State Department of the Government of the United States of America.
These women were joined by their counterparts from various women’s organizations in the United States to exchange ideas, engage in business model exercises as well as explore future business ventures. In the course of their training, the Bangladesh women visited various cities from the east coast through the Midwest and to the west cost of the United States of America.
The places visited by the women during the roving training program include: Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kansas City, New York and Virginia. They also sat down with their counterparts and officials/leaders from Meridian International Center, Community Wealth Ventures, Hope Center, Women’s Initiatives, Working Women’s Solutions, Small Business Administration, Global Fund for Women, Future Women Leaders, and Women Ventures Fund, among others.
During their training, the women had the opportunity to explore business ventures, promote their products, participate in business match-making sessions and close business deals.
The women –members of WINNER-Bangladesh who took part in the US-sponsored international leadership training include: Shahina Habib Dhobi, Sumaya Akter, Sabera Begum, Barnaby Chowdhury Lopa and Regina Begum.
In Bangladesh, women’s literacy rates remain much lower than that of men. While ever increasing numbers of women workers are entering the labour force, particularly in the micro and small-scale enterprises and informal sectors, women continue to face discrimination and dominate low paying jobs. Nevertheless, women’s initiatives in the production and trade fields represent a vital economic resource.
WINNER project is working to support Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs’ access to and knowledge of information and communication technologies.