The British Council gets to the root of matters leading to gender divides in South Asia by successfully arranging a round-table discussion under the subject of “Empowering women and girls: What is the role for men and boys, and how do we effectively engage them to create change?” in Dhaka on 18 August 2015, Tuesday. The purpose of the dialogue was
- to contribute to the development of girls’ education, empowerment and employability,
- to discuss possible measures that can be implemented to achieve sustainable results,
- to uphold the role and responsibilities boys and men have in developing empowerment, education and equality for women and girls.
The event was attended by esteemed policy experts from Bangladesh, Nepal and India. Md. Ruhul Amin Sarker, Director General , Bangladesh Bureau of Non-Formal Education, Sheepa Hafiza, Director- Gender, Justice and Diversity, BRAC, William Neal Holton Jr, USAID, Nepal, Dr. Ananya Rayhan, CEO, Dnet, Naved Chowdhury, Poverty and Social Protection Adviser, DFID, Mahmuda Rahman Khan, Senior Program Development Specialist, Gender and GOB liaison, USAID, Dr. Preetha Bhakta Sundar, Head-Education Research and Learning, NAANDI foundation, India, and Shazia Khawar, Director- Society, South Asia, British Council.
The panel discussion addressed issues regarding the gender divide in many South Asian countries, where there are fewer opportunities for women and girls to develop their workplace skills and so improve their prospects of employability. Limited access to English, education and technology contributes to a gender digital divide, leading to greater imbalance of skills between men and women and resulting in increased gender inequality. Panellists and participants were chosen based on their expertise from individual projects, government, large organisations and also included those with specialist knowledge on the gender development section.
Through discussion and sharing of experience with national and international peers, stakeholders, policy makers and influencers on a united platform, this round-table dialogue created
- cross-border networks enabling shared practice to continue after the event.
- insights to strengthen projects and programmes, leading to better long term impact and sustainability.
- better understanding of the challenges faced in other countries within the region and advocate change for girls’ education and employability.
The event was concluded with an interactive Q/A session.