The Stellar Women Taking the Nation Forward

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November 19, 2023 Real Estate Industry

Women of today are not stuck to the confines of traditions or the shackles of societal restraints. They are putting their best feet forward in diverse fields and sectors, contributing as well as men towards building a better nation. Among these women, some have received applause for their work, but only after a lifetime of struggle. Majority of the women hardly receive acknowledgement, let alone recognition, especially in their formative years or peak career moments. In order to celebrate these emerging and promising women who possess an outstanding portfolio of work, bti and The Daily Star have come together with the ‘Stellar Women’ initiative. Through this platform, women from twelve different sectors are honored for their groundbreaking work that holds the potential to take the nation forward. The award is meant to provide opportunities for the winners to connect and establish networks with individuals from different fields as well as promote their work further. 

As a real estate company with 40 years of experience, bti believes wholeheartedly in women empowerment, which is why we believe that the ‘Stellar Women’ initiative (the first of its kind in the real estate sector) will encourage more women to step up and showcase their talents. On the other hand, as the number one national English daily of the country, The Daily Star can support these women and promote their work to one of the largest bases of audiences in the nation. 

Each Stellar Women winner receives an award, a certificate, media support to promote their work (social, TV, and print), as well as some financial benefits. Till date, ten winners have been announced from ten different categories. 


Shamsin Ahmed – Development Sector

CEO & Lead Consultant of Identity Inclusion, Shamsin Ahmed is an emerging development professional whose whole focus is providing support to marginalized communities in society, especially those struggling with disabilities and mental health issues. She currently consults for BRAC, CARE, Oxfam, UCEP Bangladesh, and several other development organizations. 


Tasfia Tasbin – Technology Sector

CEO & co-founder of, Tasfia Tasbin is a rare gem in STEM fields, where women are still very much behind in terms of knowledge and opportunities. Her company provides automated marketing services which are especially helpful for SME businesses and entrepreneurs who want to expand their marketing. After winning Stellar Women in Technology, she made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree list and also won the Bangabandhu Innovation Grant at the Bangladesh Startup Summit 2023. 


Nazli Hossain – Architecture

Founder-CEO of Praxis Architects, Nazli Hossain is an inspiration for women in architecture striving to create a legacy completely solo. She fell in love with architecture while studying it in BUET. She always strived to find a unique niche for herself. This drive eventually led her to become Bangladesh’s first LEED Accredited Professional with a US Green Building Council Faculty membership. She now consults for The World Bank Group as well as several private organizations. Nazli Hussain was recently named one of the ‘Top 10 Asian Women Architects 2023’ by Women Entrepreneur India.  She recently offered green building consultancy services at the DoICT#2041 Smart Tower in Purbachal, developed by the Bangladesh government. 


Sadia Jafrin – Education

Pharmacist turned educator Sadia Jafrin is a shining example of how to defy all expectations and chase one’s own ambitions. As a Teach for Bangladesh fellow, she grew increasingly fond of children and noted the lack of readership among her students. She found that by instilling the joys of reading in children, they performed better in class. This inspired her to start the Grow Your Reader foundation, which encourages children to read to learn. Her library stations, Wheels of Wisdom project, book garage projects, Sunboi audiobook collection, have all won various accolades. Sadia Jafrin is also an Acumen Fellow and was recently listed in the Top 100 Leaders in Education Award presented by the Education 2.0 Conference. She has been selected as a Young Leader of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Grow Your Reader Foundation has been recently selected as the pioneer cohort member of the ARC initiative of the Global Fund for Children. 


Ridy Sheikh – Culture

Ridy Sheikh’s remarkable journey to global fame deserves to be celebrated. A multi-talented individual, she is a dancing maestro, trained European classical musician, influencer, and international economics expert whose first language is actually Russian. Her career started by participating in dance reality shows and working as a choreographer, eventually winning the ‘Shera Nachiye’ title in Bangladesh. Since then, she has been engaged in a diverse number of activities. She founded the Ridy Sheikh Starbase Dance Studio to teach dance both offline and online. She also has her own dance group, ‘Shapla’, named with regard to the national flower of Bangladesh. She also ventured into fashion by launching her own fashion brand ‘Gemini.’ Ridy has been involved in various projects, including UNESCO’s ‘Ethnic Origins of Beauty’ and working with UNDP as an SDG Socializer, promoting gender equality, equity, and environmental awareness.


Shamima Akhter – Corporate

Shamima Akhter is currently the Director of Corporate Affairs, Partnerships and Communications at Unilever Bangladesh. With more than a decade of experience in the development sector, she has taken her career to a whole new level in the corporate world with equal vigor and skill. She has made significant contributions to gender equity and parity in her organization, especially encouraging female participation and leadership. She previously worked in Coca-Cola Bangladesh, Qubee, Steps Towards Development, USAID, and UNDP. The award stands as a testament to her visionary leadership and dedication in the corporate sector. She was recently recognised as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer (CCAO)/CA Director of the Year at the prestigious Bangladesh C-Suite Awards 2023.


Salma Akter Mone – Sports

Salma Akter Mone continues to touch milestones one after another. She is the first Bangladeshi female referee to officiate international matches outside Asia. She is also the first Bangladeshi female referee to achieve the AFC Elite Assistant Referee badge. Earlier in 2021 she achieved the FIFA assistant referee badge and subsequently became the first woman to officiate a men’s top-tier football match at the Bangladesh Premier League. She recently officiated the 32nd SEA Games in May 2023, involving Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, and Laos. With this stint, she became the first Bangladeshi female referee to officiate an international match outside South Asia. She is currently working as a physical education teacher in a private English medium school.


Mst. Sakina Khanam – Agriculture

A pioneer for women in STEM, Dr. Sakina Khanam is a leading plant breeding and genetics researcher currently working as a Principal Scientific Officer at the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA). Women in agriculture do a disproportionate amount of unpaid work and are rarely credited for their efforts. Very few women have been able to make their mark, but Sakina Khanam rose to the occasion. She obtained the MEXT Government scholarship from Japan in 2004 which allowed her to complete her Ph.D. from Kobe University. She is the main innovator of the BINA-25 rice variant, a new kind of rice that can effectively work as an alternative to basmati rice and holds massive potential in solving food insecurity issues in Bangladesh. She is also working on cold-tolerant rice lines in the haor, char, and hilly regions in a separate project aimed to change livelihoods of local people, particularly women. She is the Principal Investigator of an IRRI-funded project on adaptation trials of submergent rice lines from the Philippines.


Lutfunnahar Piki – Writing

Lutfunnahar Piki’s story is a journey of erseverance, resilience, and empowerment. Piki initially wrote poems as a hobby in class nine. She even wrote columns for Bichitra magazine and Ittefaq’s ‘Torun Kontho,’ though her poems remained unpublished as she went on to focus on academic life. After graduating from Dhaka University with a degree in economics, she became a BCS cadre officer and joined the National Board of Revenue (NBR). Piki later on pursued a Master’s degree from York University, Canada and then moved to Australia with her husband and son to pursue a PhD in economics at Monash University, Melbourne. Her husband’s unwavering support encouraged her to publish her debut novel, “Otoppor” in 2019. She chose the pen name Lutfunnahar Piki, and further published novels and short stories based on the lives and struggles of women in Bangladesh.


Monoshita Ayruani – Startup & Entrepreneurship

She is the founder and managing director of SHAPE Industries Limited, who started out as a frustrated customer looking for the right innerwear. She too faced uncomfortable notions that millions of women in Bangladesh face on a regular basis, and decided to do something about it. Ayruani, a diligent worker since her A Levels, began as an intern copywriter and progressed through the ranks at Webable Digital, a digital marketing agency. Simultaneously studying journalism at ULAB, she accumulated 8 years of diverse experience working with clients ranging from corporate organizations to international NGOs. Fueled by her entrepreneurial interest, she founded SHAPE in 2019 with her partner. Dominating online marketing and customer service, she educates on size consultations and fosters women’s discussions in her Facebook group, ‘Girl Talk by SHAPE.’ Ayruani’s brand expanded beyond lingerie, achieving success with intimate products, sleepwear, shapewear, cosmetics, and more. In 2022, SHAPE was selected for the 6-month Stanford Seed Spark incubation programme. She hopes to expand her products beyond retail in Dhaka and Chattogram and go global.

Registration for the category of ‘Social Welfare’ is now closed. However, registration in the category of ‘Journalism’ is still open. To register, please visit and select the category for registering through an online form. You can also download the registration form offline, complete it and send it to [email protected]