Chorusing this year's slogan "Choose to Challenge", renowned cultural organizations and institutions observed International Women's Day 2021 through numerous programmes, featuring powerful and effective discussions and cultural shows on Monday.

Adopting the 'new normalcy' due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several organizations from home and abroad went for virtual programmes this year, while noted organizations including Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad, Bandhu Social Welfare Society and more have arranged cultural programmes to celebrate the day with festivities.

A special recitation program was organized by Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad at Nandan Mancha of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) on Monday afternoon, featuring noted recitations artists and cultural personalities.

Education Minister Dipu Moni joined the event as chief guest while veteran cultural personality, former Minister for Cultural Affairs and president of Abritti Samannay Parishad Asaduzzaman Noor and former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique, among others, were present as special guests.

Shirin Islam presented the keynote speech titled 'Bangabandhur Bhabonay Nari', written by Selina Hossain. Presidium member of Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad Rezina Wali Lina presided over the event while Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad general secretary Ahkam Ullah delivered the welcome speech.

Noted female recitation artistes performed both solo and group recitations at the event. Laila Afroz, Naila Tarannum Chowdhury Kakoli, Jharna Chowdhury, Shamima Tandra, Tamanna Sarwar Nipa, Mahmuda Akter Tamanna and others performed solo recitations, while Rezina Wali Lina, Suborna Afrin, Ananya Saha, Nasima Khan Bakul, Kazi Bushra Ahmed Tithi, Rabia Sultana Panna and child artistes of Bangladesh Abritti Samannay Parishad performed group recitations.

With a vision to create awareness regarding the leadership role of transgender women amongst mass population and also encourage gender-diversity among people through stories from successful creative thinkers, social organization Bandhu Social Welfare Society arranged a programme at Bangladesh Girl Guides Association, Bailey Road on Monday evening.

Chorusing the theme "Choose to Challenge", the event featured discussion and dance recitals. Election commissioner Begum Kabita Khanam joined the programme as chief guest while the first-secretary of Australian High Commission in Bangladesh Sacha Blumen, counsellor political affairs of Canadian High Commission in Bangladesh Rosalee LaPlante, Ekushey Padak conferred eminent dancer Shamim Ara Nipa, noted filmmaker Nargis Akter, transgender activist and president of Siri Samaj Kallyan Sangstha Arifa Yasmin Moyuri and others were present and spoke at the programme.

A thematic dance titled "Naree: A symbol of Women Empowerment" was showcased at the event, followed by a special dance recital by Bandhu's dance troupe Essence of Soul titled 'Beautiful Bangladesh', dedicated to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

German institutions Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie and Goethe-Institut Bangladesh jointly started a project with young feminists titled 'The Young Feminism vodcast' on Monday at Goethe-Institut Bangladesh's YouTube channel and DW Bengali's Facebook page.

Romana Akthar Shanta and Mohammad Jawad Hossain, students from Communication and Journalism program, Chittagong University, interviewed Esha Aurora, assistant news editor at Dhaka Tribune and Tasnuva Ahmed, a broadcast media personality and gender equality promoter. The vodcast featured insightful, casual talks about the ever-evolving challenges women have to face every day of their lives.

The Gronthee, a South Asian literary platform in the UK in collaboration with Saudha society of poetry and Indian music, a leading promoter of Indian classical and global music as well as La Ninfa Eco, a British-Argentine literary magazine have jointly celebrated the International Women's Day through a virtual event on Sunday, March 7.

Titled as "Re-interpreting Begum Rokeya: International Women's Day celebration", the event focused on the eventful life of Begum Rokeya, a pioneer Bengali feminist of the 20th century and other contemporary feminist issues, presentation of music, poetry and readings from Begum Rokeya's time-winning oeuvre.

Streamed live from The Gronthee's Facebook and Saudha's YouTube page, the virtual event featured 31 speakers and performers including Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni as the chief guest.

Vice-Chancellor of Barisal University professor Sadequl Arefin, journalist and filmmaker Gita Sahgal, writer and feminist Dr Amrita Wilson, former Member of Parliament from Bangladesh Mahjabeen Khaled, professor at Warwick University in UK Rashmi Varma, professor at Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh Mirza Taslima Sultana joined the event, among others.

Anchored by poet T M Ahmed Kaysher, director of Saudha, and coordinated by the editor of the Gronthee poet Shamim Shahan, the session featured the presentation of spoken-word performances by a Spain-based Latin American poet and feminist Rosy Sune, US-based artist Mariam Tamborenea, US-based playwright Nancy Guevera, British-Argentine poet Gaby Sambuccetti, Chilean writer Carmen Berenguer, Mexican poet Claudia Posadas, Singapore-based Indian poet Nandini Mehra, British-Ukrainian poet and filmmaker Vera Graziadei, British-Indian writer Shree Ganguly, Bengali poet Sebonti Ghosh and more, among others.

Iranian musician Niknaz Mirghalami, celebrated British-Indian vocalist and composer Supriya Nagarajan, Hindustani semi-classical singer Sumana Mallik Basu and Bengali singer Jessy Barua rendered song performances while Kathak performer from India Maya Kulshreastha, Gaudiya Nritya performer from Bangladesh Rachel Perris, Spain-based Indian choreographer and classical dancer Sohini Roy Chowdhury Dasgupta showcased dance performances at the programme.

A three-day film festival titled Joyeeta Foundation Chalachchitra Utsab 2021 concluded at the Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Monday. The three-day event has been organised by Bangladesh International Film Movement, in association with BSA and sponsored by Joyeeta Foundation, featuring six films made by the local female filmmakers.

University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) arranged a special webinar with the Department of English and Humanities (DEH) on Monday evening at Zoom. Following this year's theme "Choose to Challenge", the webinar featured a conversation between Supa Sadia, writer and researcher, and Qazi Mustabeen Noor, Lecturer, DEH, where they talked about Sadia's work on the project called Sheroes of 1952 and 1971.

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