Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic

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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
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Rabeya Sultana Rabbi
Updated 11 July 2019
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Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic

  • Rabbi said her dream is to have her own motor workshop when she is financially able to do so

DHAKA: Breaking gender stereotypes in a male-dominated society, 33-year-old Rabeya Sultana Rabbi works as Bangladesh’s first female motor mechanic at the Care Bangladesh aid agency in Dhaka.

Having dropped out of school at grade 10 because she could not afford an exam fee of $15, Rabbi currently makes $550 per month.

She said her salary can comfortably provide for her husband, their 4-year-old son and her parents. Rabbi is seen as an inspiration by many of her fellow countrywomen. 

“Initially, I got training as a driver with some other girls. But I was afraid of driving on highways, so I decided to take up my career as a motor mechanic,” she told Arab News. “Girls in our country hardly come to this profession.”

Rabbi was born in a village in Dinajpur district to poor vegetable vendor Abdul Aziz Farazi, and was the youngest of six siblings.

“My father’s little daily income allowed only one cooked meal per day. We had to sleep with half-filled bellies as my mother needed to save food for the next day,” Rabbi said. 

“During my childhood, I had to watch my mother starving for days … My father had to go through hardships to make ends meet. It was at that time that I vowed to improve our family’s condition.”  

Rabbi said her husband Ekramul Haque fully supported her career choice. “He agreed to babysit our only child so I could follow my dream,” she added. 

Rabbi lauded the approach, attitude, kindness and consideration of her male colleagues. “It’s extremely challenging work for a woman in a country like Bangladesh, but I overcame all the obstacles and became what I am today. All you need is determination, talent and tolerance,” she said. 

Selim Sheikh, manager for transport at Care Bangladesh, said: “Rabbi is a quick learner and adopted motor mechanical knowledge in a short period of time. She has never refused any hard work. We’re proud of her.”

Prof. Ishrat Shamim of Dhaka University said: “It’s an eye opener. Apart from the success of women in the ready-made garments sector, a career as a female motor mechanic may open up a new vista of opportunity for courageous women like Rabbi in the future.”

Shamim, who is also president of the Center for Women and Children’s Studies, added that there should be motor workshops fully run by women to encourage more females to enter the profession and contribute to the country’s economy.  “Such efforts can ensure better earnings for women and boost socioeconomic development,” Shamim said.  

Rabbi said her dream is to have her own motor workshop when she is financially able to do so.


Voting closing in race to become UK’s new prime minister

Updated 22 July 2019
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Voting closing in race to become UK’s new prime minister

  • Members of the governing Conservative Party had until 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) to return postal ballots in the contest between Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to lead the party

LONDON: Voting was closing Monday in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, as critics of likely winner Boris Johnson condemned his vow to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a divorce deal.
Members of the governing Conservative Party had until 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) to return postal ballots in the contest between Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to lead the party.
The winner will be announced Tuesday, and will take over as the nation’s leader from Prime Minister Theresa May the following day.
Johnson, a populist former mayor of London, is the strong favorite.
Several members of May’s government have said they will resign before they can be fired by Johnson over their opposition to his threat to go through with a no-deal Brexit if he can’t secure a renegotiated settlement with the EU.
Most economists say quitting the 28-nation bloc without a deal would cause Britain economic turmoil. The UK’s official economic watchdog has forecast that a no-deal Brexit would trigger a recession, with the pound plummeting in value, borrowing soaring by 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) and the economy shrinking 2% in a year.
Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday that a no-deal Brexit would be “an act of economic self-harm that runs wholly counter to the national interest.”
EU leaders insist they won’t reopen the 585-page withdrawal agreement they made with May’s government, which has been repeatedly rejected by Britain’s Parliament.
Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan quit Monday, lamenting in his resignation letter that “we have had to spend every day working beneath the dark cloud of Brexit.”
Other government ministers, including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, are set to resign on Wednesday.
The new prime minister will preside over a House of Commons in which most members oppose leaving the EU without a deal, and where the Conservative Party lacks an overall majority.
Opposition parties are preparing for an early election which could be triggered if the government loses a no-confidence vote in the coming months.
The centrist Liberal Democrats, who have seen a surge in support thanks to their strongly anti-Brexit stance, were set to declare the winner of their own leadership contest on Monday.