On September 15, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon, several teams flocked together to attend the first round of mentoring session of “Digital Innovation Challenge for Women 2017”. Much before the organisers announced the opening of the mentoring session, the participants got hold of their required mentors for help. Earlier in the week, the mentors got a glimpse of the ideas presented by the participants and were prepared accordingly.
On asking why a digital innovation challenge exclusively for women is necessary for our country, Nilufar Yasmin, a solo contestant, dissects the question. “It gave me the right push that I needed,” she says. “Women in our country are still considered inferior to men, especially in the digital world. First, we need to be on the same ground as that of men, and then, we can compete together,” Nilufar adds.
Amina Khatun, another participant, traveled to the city center from JKKNI University, Trishal, Mymensingh. This is her very first time in the capital. She shares her experience while waiting for her mentor to arrive. Amina expresses great joy in being a part of this competition and feels this could lead her towards a successful venture in game development. “I am a game developer and a designer. I have found a mentor who works in a similar field. I am excited to share my ideas with him,” expresses Amina. She always dreamed of becoming an engineer. Her parents have been very helpful and her younger brother is her best friend as well as a critic who loves to trick her with challenges.
All the mentors invested more than five hours each to groom the participants and get them ready for the Presentation Round the next day.
A third year student of BUET, Mitrasree Deb shares her experience after the presentation, “The mentoring session helped a lot. I think, now, I can pitch my idea better.” She has always been passionate about competitions and finds them helpful to channel her ideas.
“I could not find any other female who was interested in participating, so, I decided to participate on my own,” says Anamika Ahmed, a CSE major from BRAC University. According to her, females are much more serious regarding their academics, and on the other hand, the male counterparts are more focused on developing their skills and taking part in competitions. “More girls should participate and competitions like this need more exposure,” Anamika explains.
Women in Digital gave these young females the platform required to nurture their ideas, projects, and products. Through “Digital Innovation Challenge for Women 2017”, these gifted individuals are a step closer to their pursuit of the digital dream.