Marking International Women’s Day 2023
ETI and GIZ launched the study report on Declining Women Workers in the Bangladesh RMG Industry
Ethical Training Initiative (ETI) Bangladesh and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH organized a muti-stakeholder event to disseminate the key findings of the study on Declining Women Workers in the Bangladesh RMG Industry.
The event, moderated by Munir Uddin Shamim, Programme Manager, ETI Bangladesh and SAM Husain, Advisor, GIZ, took place at the Hotel Amari on 6 March 2023. Dr. Shahidur Rahman, Professor of Sociology, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, BRAC University presented key findings while Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Country Economist, UNDP, Bangladesh, Naureen Chowdhury, Global Lead Workers Rights, Laudes Foundation, China Rahman, Women Secretary, IndustriAll Bangladesh Council, Barrister Shehrin Salam Oishee, Director, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) spoke to the audience as panel guests. Dr. Michael Klode, Project Manager, Programme for Sustainability in the Textile and Leather Sector (STILE), GIZ gave a welcome speech focusing on the importance and background of the study. Abil Bin Amin, Country Manager, ETI Bangladesh gave closing remarks. Participants of the event included representatives from the business associations (BGMEA & BKMEA), trade unions, global brands, academia, CSOs, donor agencies, NGOs, embassies etc.
Over the past 40 years, the growth of the ready-made garment industry (RMG) in Bangladesh has triggered a social change by generating considerable formal employment opportunities for women. The industry has made women visible in the labour market and empowered in society. However, in recent years the proportion of women workers in the sector has been on the decline. Women no longer comprise 80% of the labour force in the RMG sector – the most recent estimates show the share of women workers to be less than 55%. These changes have significant implications for women’s economic empowerment, as well as the well-being of their families and communities. It is also likely to impact on business models for manufacturers and buyers alike. It will also have a negative impact on the national development agenda.
In this context, GIZ, ETI Bangladesh under Sustainable Textile Initiative: Together for Change (STITCH) and BRAC University have taken this research initiative to look into the causes and consequences of the ongoing declining trend of women workers in the Bangladesh RMG industry. The study has been conducted by a research team of the BRAC University led by Professor Dr. Shahidur Rahman.