FEATURE STORY

Bangladesh's ICT Industry: A Boon for Women’s Employment

May 10, 2015

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‘Innovation for Impact' workshop organised by the World Bank Group in partnership with Microsoft.


Story Highlights
  • Bangladesh's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry generates approximately $300 million in annual revenue. The potential is huge, but the country is yet to fully leverage ICT for development.
  • Bangladesh needs a significant higher ratio of female participation in the labor force to realize its vision of reaching middle income status by 2021. ICT can play an important role in job creation for women.
  • Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) can help create jobs for women by integrating ICT in their development work.

Bangladesh has made strong strides in accelerating growth over the last decades. However, the country needs to grow around 8% yearly to reach middle income status. Innovation and use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) can help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. The World Bank, in partnership with Microsoft, organized a two-day ‘Innovation for Impact” workshop to support local Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) in integrating ICT into their work, which in turn would help these NGOs create jobs, especially for women.

ICT can play a catalytic role in promoting the country’s economic development. The experts and participants at the workshop shared ideas on how innovation can bring positive changes in making organizational development more efficient and competitive.  “A paradigm shift towards social enterprise can generate income, reduce donor dependency and make an organization self-sustainable. Many good examples already exist in Bangladesh,” pointed out Dr. Anannya Raihan, Chief Executive of DNet, and local partner of the workshop. Now the challenge is to scale up innovation and reach people easily.

NGOs in Bangladesh

NGOs have played an important role in Bangladesh’s development and women’s empowerment. Bangladesh pioneered micro-credit and is home to the world’s largest NGO. Still, civil society organizations in South Asia have not yet maximized the use of ICT to deliver on their mission, which is essential for their long-term success and the sustainability of their programs.

Breaking barriers by increasing female participation in the labor force

Every year Bangladesh creates around 1.2 million jobs, mostly benefitting men. The latest Bangladesh Development Update suggests that to comfortably reach middle income status by 2021, Bangladesh needs more women to join the workforce. Bangladesh can increase its GDP growth by 1.6% if female labor participation increases from 33.7% currently to 82%, a figure on par with the present male labor participation rate. 


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" “A paradigm shift towards social enterprise can generate income, reduce donor dependency and make an organization self-sustainable. Many good examples already exist in Bangladesh,”  "

Dr. Anannya Raihan

Chief Executive of DNet

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ICT can help create jobs for women and youth in both local and global markets.


The growing ICT industry can play a role in creating jobs for women

Bangladesh's ICT industry has developed over the past decade and generates around $300 million revenue yearly. ICT can help create jobs for women and youth in both local and global markets. Realizing the potential, the Government of Bangladesh has initiated many positives steps to promote ICT. Employment opportunities in the ICT sector are enormous for women, provided that the country further strengthens its ICT infrastructure and prepare women and youth to tap into the global ICT market.

The ‘Innovation for Impact’ workshop was designed for NGOs to better understand the market, explore free and low-cost IT resources, adopt ICT in monitoring and evaluation system, and use IT to facilitate job creation, skills development, and entrepreneurship.

This was the third round of the World Bank – Microsoft regional partnership. The workshop brought together like-minded organizations and helped establish a network of NGOs working on ICT and women and youth issues. Experts from the private sector, Government, ICT, and Civil Society Organizations as well as development partners shared experience and ideas at the interactive workshop. The participating organizations will receive virtual support over the next year on how to strengthen ICT and strategic communication skills and create more and better jobs for women. Since 2013, Microsoft and the World Bank have nurtured the partnership and organized coding competitions and capacity development workshops to support NGOs in Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka in adopting ICT and innovation.


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