It has nearly been a century since Dhaka University was established. For years, the 'Oxford of Orient', as many fondly call it, remained a tough ground for women to rise.
But things have changed in recent years and the university has done an excellent job in empowering women and increasing their participation in all sectors. Prof Dr Nasreen Ahmad became the first female pro vice-chancellor in the university's history on June 6, 2012. Prof Sadeka Halim was the first woman to be elected dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences on December 13, 2017.
Dhaka University says the number of teachers and students is 1,992 and 37,018 respectively. Of them, there are 638 women teachers and 12,028 female students. Currently, 32 percent of the university's teachers are women. The percentage of female students is 32.49.
Female students are also dominating the university's academic activities, winning most of the academic excellence awards. The university gave the Deans Award to 28 students of the Faculty of Social Sciences in 2017. Of the recipients, 17 were females.
Prof Halim pointed out that the university has no quota system for girls. "They get into Dhaka University with their merit," she told. "In the past, women were considered weaker than men. But this pattern of thinking is changing. They (women) have proven themselves in all sectors," she said.
Prof Halim said she had had some odd experiences being a woman. "But I always took them as challenges and tried to overcome those with my work," she added. Female students are not lagging behind in extracurricular activities either.
Twenty-eight female candidates are vying for various posts in the upcoming elections to Dhaka University Central Students' Union (Ducsu) hall unions scheduled for March 11. BM Lipi Akter, vying for common room and cafeteria affairs secretary from Bangladesh Chhatra League panel, said women participation has increased.
"But it's not enough," she told UNB. "In the Ducsu election, no student organization, except the Chhatra League, nominated enough female candidates."
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