The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DCEE) at North South University (NSU) recognises the immense importance of promoting and sustaining a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment. Considering the fact that a good number of students are female, Dr. Shama E. Haque, Assistant Professor at DCEE, took the lead to arrange and host the very first social meeting for female engineering faculty members and female civil engineering students of NSU on November 1, 2018. The event was sponsored by the Institutional Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC).
Dr. Nazmun Nahar, IQAC Director and Associate Professor at DCEE, provided strong support to make the event a success. Prof. Dr. Nazmul Islam, Chair of DCEE, along with the remainder of the faculty members supported the event enthusiastically. The event was organised to make female students aware of the current state of employment opportunities for women, address the gender gap, and make them aware of opportunities for career advancement for women in civil engineering. Additionally, the idea was to expose the female students to accomplished female role models. Both Dr. Haque and Dr. Nahar mentioned that having strong female mentors is especially important for the young women as they navigate through the challenges of becoming successful women in both their professional and personal lives.
In addition to the DCEE female faculty members and students, the event was attended by Shaila Joarder, Chairwoman and Associate Professor of Department of Architecture, Dr. Nova Ahmed and Dr. Lamia Iftekhar, Associate Professors at Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering; Khadiza Akter, Laboratory Officer at DCEE along with Dr. Shoaib Chowdhury, Associate Professor of DCEE and faculty advisor for Civil and Environmental Engineering Students Association (CEESA).
Dr. Chowdhury gave the opening speech and signified the importance of having a gender-balanced work force. Following the speech, every female faculty member present shared their own stories of professional growth and achievements; they stressed the importance of positive thinking and the need to be confident and self-dependent. The faculty members highlighted how they were responsible for their own successes and failures and strongly encouraged the female students to take responsibility for moulding their future. Additionally, the attendees were actively encouraged to start networking properly.
The female students were receptive and appreciative of the open discussion, encouragement, and affirmation. The constructive environment allowed the students to be themselves and feel comfortable to discuss the challenges and benefits they face. The students also shared their experiences at NSU and discussed their professional goals. By the end of the event, the female students strongly wanted to further cultivate their relationships with the faculty mentors and their peers. Furthermore, the students suggested that they would like to arrange a technical workshop sometime next semester for only female students to improve their technical skills. Overall, the event was a great success.