“We rise by lifting others.” We’re each a step for one another to climb the ladder of success in life. And that holds true, more so, for women. Even today. In a male-dominated global society, women tend to have to work twice as much just to prove their worth. Many families still consider their son’s education as a priority compared to that of their daughter’s. Corporate culture still prefers men in leadership roles, with a higher pay than that of women in equivalent positions. And even now, it still seems unsafe for women to be out on their own, especially after dark. Although things are much different than they were a decade back, the imminent change is staggeringly sluggish at its pace. And no change will be significant nor lasting without the proactive involvement and integration of the global citizens of the world. It’s a joint effort. Not just by the feminists, but supported and encouraged by men, in families, at work, and most importantly, the society in general.
Being the first female Vice Chancellor in Bangladesh, Dr. Carmen Z. Lamagna, has not only advocated women empowerment, but faced the challenges that came with the territory. And she shared her experience with the students, both male and female, to further the empowerment of women, through the young leaders of tomorrow. On the 15th of March 2017, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), organized an “Open Dialogue on Women Empowerment”, where around 200 students gathered in the AIUB Auditorium to talk with their Vice Chancellor about all the hurdles she had to overcome, along with the opportunities as well as the ways they could in turn empower and be empowered in their day-to-day lives. The students opened up with questions on how she transitioned from a relatively developed Philippines to a underdeveloped Bangladesh back in the 1990s. Following her career path, she shared the changes her life underwent as she worked towards establishing an academic institution, encouraging female students to apply, and engaging them in carrying the baton of women empowerment forward.
The session closed with a rough roadmap of how the youth of Bangladesh, regardless of gender, can contribute to the development of not just its women, but of the nation by extension. The Vice Chancellor left the students with the belief of pursuing dreams, making their marks, and never letting anyone tell them otherwise. This Open Dialogue is said to be one of many more to come, and AIUB is constantly working towards realizing such initiatives in the future.