Desk Report: On Thursday, 21 September, the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017 will recognize 10 SDG Pioneers – individuals from around the world who are championing sustainability through their own companies and mobilizing the broader business community to take action in pursuit of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.
Among the SDG Pioneers who will be recognised is Sonia Bashir Kabir, Managing Director of Microsoft Bangladesh.
“Each of the 2017 SDG Pioneers is exhibiting how companies and pioneering individuals can be a force for positive change in addressing the issues we all face today,” said Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director. “Ms. Kabir has been impactful in advocating for women’s participation in the Information Technology workforce. She has been a Pioneer in promoting women to embrace technology through digital literacy training.”
Ms. Kabir has been recognised for her role in women’s digital empowerment. She believes technology (especially disruptive technology) can empower emerging countries to advance forward economically. Bangladesh with a population of 160 million people has a female population of 50%. Clearly women have a strong presence and can contribute to the country's growth.
Microsoft Bangladesh has invested in providing digital literacy training to women. We are excited to see the acceptance, appreciation and demand of our efforts and are eager to scale as well as graduate the training from education to empowerment to entrepreneurship. We have found huge success in inspiring women to take up the initials steps in embracing technology and pursuing business related with technology. With the help of government, we expect to see significant rise in numbers of women who will cross the digital divide in Bangladesh within the next year, observed Ms. Kabir.
Each year, the UN Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers – business leaders doing an exceptional job of taking action to advance the Global Goals. Hundreds of nominations were received from diverse regions of the world, from which 10 finalists were selected, exemplifying how business can be a force for good in addressing the challenges we face as a global society. Each Pioneer will be recognized during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017 on 21 September in New York.
A Pioneers Selection Group, comprised of experts from the UN, academia, civil society and the private sector, ranked the nominees based on a set of criteria, resulting in the ten 2017 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneers. Access the list of 2017 SDG Pioneers.
"I am deeply humbled and honoured to be recognised as a SDG Pioneer 2017 by the UN Global Compact team. I am excited about inspiring and empowering women of my country with technology and can confidently claim that the opportunities present in Bangladesh to leverage technology to advance to a middle-income economy far outweighs those present in any other country," said Sonia Bashir Kabir about her achievement.
The world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the UN Global Compact calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. In Bangladesh, over 55 companies and non-business organization have joined the initiative, and the Global Compact Network Bangladesh has supported their efforts to advance sustainable business practices since 2009.
The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017 is a two-day gathering of the private sector, UN, Government and civil society to jump-start action to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Together, over 800 leaders from around the world are gathered in New York to identify how to unleash the business activities, thinking and innovation required for a new era of sustainability.
Sonia Bashir Kabir is a managing director for Microsoft Bangladesh and board director and co-founder of D Money, a financial technology sector start-up. Sonia advocates digital literacy for women, and has led programs increasing women’s participation in the IT workforce. Through Microsoft she has worked to arrange microloans for women to found IT businesses.
She serves as vice president and co-founder of Bangladesh Women In Technology (BWIT), past board member for the Bangladesh Employers Federation, and founding president of TiE Dhaka, an non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring and entrepreneurship. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Sonia in 2015 to the Governing Council of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (LDC) for a 3 year term.
Sonia is also dedicated the transformative power of education. She serves on boards of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), the business and computer science schools of North South University and the business school of the Independent University Bangladesh.
risingbd/Dhaka/Sep 12, 2017/Monirul Feroz/Nasim