The three-day-long Women in Leadership (WIL) Fest 2018 concluded at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Saturday, after celebrating the achievements of women from all walks of life.
The festival, sponsored by Freedom Sanitary Napkin and organized by WIL, an initiative of Bangladesh Brand Forum, was held under the theme of “Owning & Visibility.”
Owning is refers to the confidence and self-belief which are critical components for any female professional to succeed and reach her potential. Visibility refers to how a female is perceived by family, partners, colleagues, friends and society in general. Liaquat Ali Lucky, director general of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, delivered the welcome address.
At the inauguration of the festival, chief guest Dr Anisuzzaman, professor emeritus at Dhaka University , said: ''Only a woman herself should have the right to make decisions on her existence and life.”
Nazia Andaleeb Preema, president of Women in Leadership (WIL), in her speech said: "Womanhood should get celebrated all day, every day, in every aspect of our life."
Meanwhile, ACI Ltd Managing Director Syed Alamgir said: “I was always a Mamma's boy. It is one of the crucial reasons why my respect for women is so very high!"
In addition, the band Guddi performed their original song Naari, dedicating the performance to the female audience.
On the first day of WIL fest, five discussions, four training sessions and four start-up talks took place.
Ahsan Ahmed Chowdhury from White-Board, Grameenphone Ltd, shared his knowledge on how it feels entering the digital arena, what happens in the digital ecosystem, and how someone can be a part of it.
Furthermore, a workshop titled “Strengthening the Women Leadership Pipeline" was conducted by M Zulfiquar, CEO and lead consultant for Grow n Excel.
Guest speakers Shariful Islam, Samrine Bokhari, Shaila Rahman and Zreef Tamanna Matin joined the WIL discussion “Is there any glass ceiling?”. Sayeda, Jannatul Peya, Monoshita Ayruani and Elita Karim took part in the WIL Discussion “Making yourself meaningfully visible online.” Amidst the discussion, Farah Naz Moon conducted a live art performance titled “Deep.”
On the second day, duos Solaiman Alam-Ayreen Khan and Naveed Mahbub-Zara Mahbub shared their insights on “Power Couples Growing Together.” Farah Naz spoke in a session on “How entrepreneurs can use digital media to brand their startup in full swing.”
Nazim Farhan Chowdhury, Ashraf Kaiser, Tanvir Haider, Zeeshan Kinghsuk took part in the discussion titled “Role of Make- Friend or Foe?!”
The pressing question “Why it is hard to show empowered women in Ads?” was finally asked in a panel discussion with Fahima Chowdhury Ferdous Hasan Nevile, Khaled Mahmoud, Piplu R Khan, Solaiman Alam.
This year, the Women Leadership Summit consisted of global keynote speakers and interactive panel discussions aimed at uniting the voices of women from across the nation and providing them with a platform to address the multiple issues related to women in leadership and their challenges. Ambassador of France Marie-Annick Bourdin, Ambassador of Norway HE Sidsel Bleken, and HE Ambassador or Denmark Mikael Hemniti Winther joined the discussion facilitated by Shariful islam, founder and managing editor of Bangladesh Brand Forum.
Media personalities Shakil Ahmed, head of news at Ekattor TV, and Ishtiaque Reza, director of news and operations of Ekattor TV, joined the WIL Discussion Series held on Saturday. The series aims to make women own, develop and discover themselves in a way that ultimately makes them visible to society.
WIL FEST also showcased startups to facilitate ventures by female entrepreneurs or ventures that focus on services for women. Rakhshanda Rukham, lead of Google Women Techmakers Bangladesh and founderof Begum.co, Mashraka Binta Mosharraf, CEO of Creative Connections , Farha Naz Zaman, head of digital marketing at Grameenphone Ltd, and Monsurul Aziz, head of enterprise design at Toru Institute of Inclusive Innovation, explored different startup concepts and their contribution to empowerment of women. The Startup Talk facilitated interested women willing to learn about challenges and opportunities from the female entrepreneurs.
At a workshop conducted by School of Slow Media (SOSM), 30 participants collaborated with strangers across cultures and languages in the field of media production. This exclusive workshop aimed to attune the participants’ storytelling skills and their creativity
This year, two unique campaign ideas were given to universities and creative agencies. Each of the institutes had to come up with their way of presenting “Women Empowerment” or “Female Biasness” in our society through these campaigns.
The two winning campaigns were awarded on the final day of the fest with the Inspiring Women Award 2018, which aims to officially recognize women’s efforts in the growth of the country, empower female professionals and create role models at both the individual and organizational levels. The award for Dynamic Woman of the Year was presented to lawyer Nihad Kabir, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Dhaka, while the Inspiring Woman in Academia Award was given to Jahangirnagar University Vice Chancellor Dr Farzana Islam.
Furthermore, a female centric art exhibition titled “Freedom of choice’told the stories of women’s lives, challenges, and success through mesmerizing photography, garments and visual art.