Farzana Chowdhury has seen first-hand how women in Bangladesh are still deprived of their basic rights and are subject to discrimination in many areas of their lives. She has made it her mission to work for the improvement of women through an innovative business model. Having spent over two decades in the insurance industry, she is now providing commercial insurance schemes directly aimed at improving economic security for women.
Farzana heads up the Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, one of the leading private non-life insurance companies in Bangladesh, and is the first female CEO in the Bangladesh insurance industry. The company has developed a number of schemes and services tailored to women, and in 2013, the company launched Nibedita - the first ever comprehensive insurance scheme dedicated to women.
The personal accident insurance scheme provides economic security to women irrespective of their income, occupation or vocation. The scheme provides loss or damage to household goods due to fire, riots, storms and earthquakes. It also provides trauma allowance in case of rape, road bully, robbery, and acid attacks. Finally, it covers death during child birth or during caesarean operations. The success of the business allows the scheme to be scaled up and readily available for any woman who needs it, throughout the region. Today, women from all walks of life are covered by Nibedita.
Farzana and her team are currently developing a supporting app for Nibedita. It will support women further by connecting them with relevant emergency services. For example, if a woman comes under attack, a click on a panic button in the app will send a direct message to the nearest police station. The app will also be connected to other social ventures and service providers such as hospitals, banks, law and order institutes, vocational training institutes, and so on, increasing the capacity for businesses to grow in response to social need. Farzana’s goal is for the app to play a pivotal role in empowering women in Bangladesh and helping to promote gender equity.
Besides her tireless work ensuring the economic security of Bangladeshi women, Farzana works as a mentor in a start-up lab where young female entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to learn from successful professionals. Farzana is also a board member of TalentNomics India, which also nurtures young female professionals.