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Women’s employment is declining in BD garment sector

Bangladesh’s primary export sector, the readymade garment (RMG) industry, is not expanding employment at a widespread rate. Workers are being added at the rate of hardly 1% per year.

The participation of women in the garments sector of the country is declining and the participation of men is enhancing. Nevertheless, the overall probability of employment in the garment sector is not appearing. On average, only 1 percent of workers are being added every year. The people of Rangpur and Mymensingh districts are working extensively in this sector and 18 percent of the whole workers in this sector are foreigners.

Women-employment-declining-Bangladesh-garment-sector
Figure: Participation of women in the garments sector of the country is declining and the participation of men is enhancing.

The data showed up from an analysis by an organization named the Asian Center for Development (ACD). AK Enamul Haque, Executive Director of ACD, officially published the consequences of the survey titled ‘Socio-Economic Status of Garment Workers in Bangladesh’ online on Saturday, March 7.

He said that the survey work began in February of the last year.

The survey was conducted on a random basis on 160 garment factories in Dhaka and Chittagong, of which 129 were in Dhaka and surrounding districts and the remaining 31 were in Chittagong.

The analysis was supervised on 1,119 people working in these three categories knitwear, woven, and sweaters. The outcomes of the analysis have been published based on data of workers from first grade to seventh grade in 160 factories. Earlier in 2015, ACD conducted the first survey on the garment sector.

Enamul Haque said that a total of 42 lakh 20 thousand workers are working in the garment sector now. Of these, 24 lakh 98 thousand are women and 17 lakh 22 thousand are men. 5 years back, a total of 40 lakh 1 thousand workers were working in the garment sector.

Then several women workers were 25 lakh 91 thousand and there were 14 lakh 10 thousand were men workers. 2 lakh 19 thousand workers have been expanded in the garment sector in 5 years. In other words, the number of workers in the garment sector has enhanced at an average rate of 1.7 percent every year. At this time, the growth of male inclusion in the garment sector was 4 percent. On the other hand, the number of women workers has decreased at the rate of 0.7 percent every year.

According to the survey, 18 percent of the total workforce in the garment sector in Bangladesh is foreigners.

In the case of activities, the figure is as follows: a maximum of 74 percent foreign workers are working in administration, 16 percent in technical activities, and 8 percent in merchandising. 35 percent of garment workers have a secondary pass degree.

23 percent have joined after finishing off primary school lessons, 3 percent have passed bachelor’s or graduate honors and barely 0.5 percent have entered after graduating technological schooling.

According to the survey, the garment factories in Bangladesh are mostly established in Dhaka and surrounding districts and Chittagong. Yet in the districts where the factories are located, the participation of the people in the garment factories is negligible. 89 percent of the workers come from other districts.  Most workers are from Rangpur and Mymensingh districts.

Discussion on the outcomes of the analysis

Having a part in the discussion, Labor and Employment Secretary Abdus Salam said that he’s surprised to hear that 82 factories did not provide information for the survey and he doesn’t know why they didn’t give information. The secretary wants to know why people from Rangpur and Mymensingh districts are moving toward the garment sector more.

Mostafizur Rahman, Special Fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said Bangladesh’s transition from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) will take place in 2026 with only six years to go. At this moment the capability of the garment sector needs to be strengthened.

Rahman said that six years back, the salary of a worker was Tk 6,820 but now it has increased to 11 thousand 402 Tk but this did not increase their purchasing power.

BGMEA President Rubana Huq said the 82 factories that did not provide information may have been inconvenienced. Nonetheless queried that why Western buyers did not increase the price of clothing during the Corona duration.

Rubana Huq said a total of 16 percent of foreign workers are working in garment factories. To reduce this percentage, work is being accomplished to increase the capability of garment workers.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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