International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched an innovative training scheme to create more women in supervisory roles in Bangladesh’s garment sector. This initiative was taken to mark the 2019 International Women’s Day.
The Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR) initiative was launched at a high-level International Women’s Day reception, hosted by the High Commission of Canada at the Residence of the H.E High Commissioner of Canada on Monday, 4 March 2019.
GEAR is a special initiative of Better Work Bangladesh – jointly implemented by IFC and the ILO. Rolled out in 2016, the program has made significant steps in progressing women’s economic potential and improving access to better jobs and opportunities for women.
“I would slowly but surely like to rise from my current position as a supervisor to a line-chief, then an Assistant Production Manager and finally become a Production Manager,”
Popy Aktar, a GEAR-trained supervisor who works for Sparrow Apparels Ltd in Gazipur.
To date, GEAR has trained 144 female workers; 58 of whom are now in supervisory roles. Impact assessment shows that lines led by GEAR-trained females experienced an average increase of 5% in efficiency. The GEAR-promoted female supervisors also saw – on average – a 39% increase in salary. After a successful pilot, Better Work is scaling up GEAR to train 700 female operators and their managers in 70 factories to promote career-progression opportunities for women in the RMG sector.
“I would slowly but surely like to rise from my current position as a supervisor to a line-chief, then an Assistant Production Manager and finally become a Production Manager,” said Popy Aktar, a GEAR-trained supervisor who works for Sparrow Apparels Ltd in Gazipur.
Diplomats and representatives from UN agencies, development partners, donors, government bodies, civil society, the private sector, employers’ organizations, and unions attended the launch event.
As women face discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. They often work at the lowest rung of the jobs ladder with little room for growth or upscaling of skills.