Being in Bangladesh was a milestone moment in our global meetings – witnessing the influence and impact of one of the greatest and longest serving women leaders as female head of government: Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The progress of Bangladesh especially in health and education, poverty alleviation as well as ownership and rights has been a result of a conscious policy of care and inclusion to energise the nation. That most of these initiatives have been geared towards women highlights how women are at the center of the ripple effect of development.
The right of Health is enshrined in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. A 20 years strategic plan of universal healthcare was put in place focussing on awareness and education especially regards nutrition, pregnancy, and vaccination. Along came implementation through female front line health workers and door to door family planning services, leading to dramatic improvements in indicators such as maternal and child health.
Bangladesh has shown that with sincere strategy, we can achieve inclusive goals for economy and society. Leadership with a spirit of empathy and equality can pave the way for all.
The G100 wing for Healthcare and Wellness led by the Global Chair Farzanah Chaudhary set up wide ranging meetings and panels for exchange toward developing thought leadership and collective actions toward the goals of UN SDGs 3 and 5. We met with senior officials leading the SSK pilot project that is providing free healthcare to those below the poverty line, making healthcare security a priority for all including the most marginalised and underserved.
While challenges of implementation, skilling and traditional mindsets remain – as they do worldwide – the planning and projects are noteworthy as they are creating a culture of care in society, with a positive pressure on all to invest in social sectors, especially the private sector. All these challenges can be addressed, as shared in the meetings, by way of more of collaboration, integration and working together – and women are integral to making that happen.
The state of women worldwide was noted poignantly as being poorer in both resources and representation especially in positions of power. With women and girls worldwide facing disproportionately higher food, health, and income insecurity, along with discrimination, violence and higher barriers to access, leaders in government and private sector need to urgently devote more attention and resources to women’s health, safety and well-being.
Hon’ble Minister of Education Dr. Dipu Moni shared on a lighter note albeit not without deeper meaning that while the unpaid labour and burden of care belongs to women, the moment these activities are income generating such as in professional roles of chef or tailors, it is the men who take these roles!
On the occasion, G100 awards were also presented felicitating leaders and achievers who have contributed to the healthcare and wellness sector in Bangladesh. The awardees shared about barriers to women’s healthcare and provided suggestions to strengthen the healthcare and wellness framework for women, especially regards mental health, work-life balance, support of women, men and family. A most touching moment was a mother’s moving appeal to decriminalise attempts to suicide and treat suicide prevention seriously as a mental health issue. Transforming her pain to purpose she had prevented 30 people from attempting suicide in the challenging covid times.
Healthcare and wellness was also unpacked as having all dimensions of life and lifestyle including physical, emotional, hormonal, reproductive, mental, special needs, preventative and palliative care. A 360 degree care, solutions and systemic approach was necessary in policymaking, planning and practice. The great opportunity of digitalisation in healthcare holds the promise of bridging many gaps as also awareness of self care through alternative modalities with natural herbs, yoga and holistic healing.
The WICCI Awards and panels organised by the WICCI Bangladesh- India business council led by President Mantasha Ahmed showcased the tremendous leadership of women in Bangladesh across disciplines and domains. Senior officials and advisory from the Prime Minister’s Office spoke at the event. It was an honor to have with us as Chief Guest the Hon’ble Speaker of Parliament, and the first female Speaker, Hon’ble Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
In closing, a TV interview with a noted channel helped highlight our mission and
a sisterhood lunch in celebration of Shakti Bandhan hosted by our Country Chair for Human Rights & Dignity wing, Fatemaa Waariithah Ahsan realigned us to the source and spirit that strengthens us All. A visit to the beautiful office of Sonia Bashir Kabir, G100 Global Chair for IT Services & Innovation, raises our spirits to resonate with the message on the wall – Yes She Can !
Convenor & Navigator: We are most grateful to our inspiring Soul Sister Farzanah Chaudhary, G100 Global Chair for Healthcare & Wellness
for her ardent leadership. We greatly thank our Soul Sisters for their abiding support : Sonia Bashir Kabir, G100 Global Chair for IT Services & Innovation, and Mantasha Ahmed, President. Bangladesh – India Business Council, Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI).
G100 Secretariat Global Team
1. Dr. Harbeen Arora – Founder & President, G100 Club
2. Vinay Rai – Founder & President, G100 Denim Club
G100 Global Chairs & Denim Club Partners
1. Dr. Farzanah Chowdhury, G100 Global Chair, Healthcare & Wellness, along with Denim Club Partner Dr. M. Muinul Hafiz.
2. Sonia Bashir Kabir, G100 Global Chair, IT Services & Innovation, along with Denim Club Partner Mohammad Atiqur Rahm.
We were also joined online on one of the event panels by Global Chairs: Mar Introini (Global Networking), Jennifer Randive (Oneness and Wisdom), Alex Okoroji, (Media Arts and Communication), Diah Yusuf, (Business Accelerator).
Along with country chairs, region chairs, city chairs and denim club members & partners across wings.