We must do a better job of encouraging future students, especially girls and women, to take interest in science
Congratulations to Dr Shamsun Nahar Begum, chief scientific officer of the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), who has been awarded the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Women in Plant Mutation Breeding Award.
With BINA, a research organization under the agriculture ministry, also receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award of the IAEA, this is indeed a special achievement for Bangladesh.
However, beyond the individual recognition bestowed upon Dr Shamsun Nahar Begum and BINA, these awards represent where Bangladesh should be headed in the foreseeable future, and where the authorities concerned should prioritize resources for future investment -- in science and most importantly, in women looking to pursue science as a career.
It is extremely distressing that stories of everyday sexism and institutional misogyny continue to make headlines on a regular basis. Despite all our progress, women’s rights being abused remains as commonplace as ever.
Furthermore, a large number of people in our country, from all walks of life, still do not see the value in providing a complete education to girls. In the long run, not only does this stifle or economy and hold it back from reaching its full potential, it fails to empower women, depriving them of the myriad benefits, both tangible and intangible, that education provides.
As Bangladesh currently stands, if we are to truly transform ourselves into an equitable, knowledge-based economy that we aspire to be, then we must do a better job of encouraging future students, especially girls and women, to take interest in science and related subjects. Awards such as the one Dr Shamsun Nahar Begum won will then become a regular occurrence for our country.