Bangladesh is a developing country whose economy is mainly reliant on the apparel industry. Our country’s economy is primarily based on industries like the profitable apparel business. High-end garment exports to other countries bring in a sizable sum of foreign currency.
The garment industry in Bangladesh has been the country’s main export market and source of foreign currency for the past 25 years. Currently, the country exports apparel for $5 billion worth of commodities per year. 90% of the three million workers in the industry are women. Posh Garments Ltd is one of the leading factories to promote women’s empowerment in their workforce.
History of Women’s Participation in the Garments Industry of Bangladesh
The expansion of the RMG industry gave rise to a group of businesspeople who built a robust private sector. A sizable portion of these entrepreneurs are women. In 1977, a female entrepreneur founded Baishakhi Clothing, one of the first clothing manufacturers focused on exports. In the RMG sector, many women hold senior management roles. Over the past 15 years or so, the RMG industry, which is solely focused on exports, has seen spectacular growth.
For forty years, Bangladesh’s economy has been driven by the garment industry, which employs more people than any other business. The hiring surge has helped women in particular, as the four million workers in the sector now are overwhelmingly female.
How Garments Factories Have Empowered Women
Bangladesh, a developing country, has not been able to offer the facilities necessary for women’s advancement, such as jobs and educational opportunities. However, with the development of the RMG factories, many women were able to put their skills and abilities to use for the benefit of their families, societies, and nations. In both urban and rural areas, women from the poor to the lower middle class are working in large numbers in these garment industries. About 80% of the workforce in this industry is made up of women. As a result of their greater involvement, the RMG sector’s export rate has also steadily increased.
Empowering Women in Bangladesh’s Garments Industry: Success Stories and Strategies
In a nation where women historically did not work outside the home, RMG was the first sector to offer women in Bangladesh on a wide scale employment options starting in the 1980s.
Due to the projected increase in returns from education in the labor market, households decide to invest in the education of daughters as companies come up and economic prospects reach villages.
In addition, girls who work in the apparel industry are more likely to put off getting married and having children. Surprisingly, among households where women had never previously worked outside the home, the effect of getting a job in the garment sector on delaying marriage and childbirth seems to be greater.
From being ranked 91st out of 115 nations in the Global Gender Gap Index in 2006 to moving up to 48th place out of 144 in 2018, Bangladesh has made significant progress in closing the gender gap. With the gender gap shrinking mostly on the political empowerment component, where Bangladesh ranked 5th in 2018, Bangladesh is also the best performer in South Asia. The profitable ready-made clothing business, Bangladesh’s largest export sector, employs three million women. More women are working in small and medium-sized businesses.
Barriers to Women’s Empowerment in the Garments Industry of Bangladesh
To begin with, the majority of married female employees’ days don’t finish with their shift at the business. They are required to cook, clean, and handle other household duties once they get home, adding to their already heavy workload and increasing their risk of being sick. Due to their demanding schedules, pregnant women in particular experience serious health issues like hypertension. However, because they need the money, the majority of women continue to work and conceal their pregnancies as long as they can for fear of being fired by their employers if they do.
Working moms from rural villages report feeling a great deal of shame, worry, and stress since they have to leave their kids behind in their hometowns because they can’t afford to care for them in Dhaka, either financially or in terms of time.
Women still experience workplace discrimination and harassment and hold the lowest-paid positions in RMG factories, although the garment industry has given them previously unheard-of opportunities, particularly for those living in rural areas.
The majority of factories offer no mental health services at all to their employees. The majority of women suffer in silence as a result.
How to Overcome the Barriers and Empower Women in the Garments Industry Nationwide
Insisting that gender equality be given top priority by multinational corporations would be an excellent place to start. Gender parity is a goal that several international firms that use Bangladeshi manufacturing have set for their corporate offices. The production side should follow suit, as managerial roles there are virtually entirely held by men, a disparity that exacerbates the gender gap in other areas of society.
The goal of women’s empowerment must be shared by the clothing industry and the male population in general. Women have been the backbone of Bangladesh’s most significant industry for nearly 40 years.
Numerous businesses have tested a life-skills training program for RMG employees to improve their skills. This program teaches workers how to negotiate, communicate, and supervise others while also boosting their confidence to apply for higher-level positions and confront workplace issues like sexual harassment.
Every garment factory, no matter how big or little, serves the needs of the people and the nation. Bangladesh is still in the process of developing and has a long way to go. Many people are employed in the clothing industry, which makes them assets. The frequent denial of garment workers’ just compensation deters them from working in this industry. Owners of clothing factories should guarantee timely payments. for the employees as well as other requirements. The garment industry, which is essential to the functioning of our economy, depends heavily on its workforce. Therefore, it is essential to provide employees with a secure environment.
Women are assets to the country’s development and they should be prioritized in the Garments industries of Bangladesh.
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