Women’s leadership vital for inclusive and sustainable business, say speakers at GEAR event
Domestic and international stakeholders have once again stressed the importance of promoting gender equality, continued training, and the advancement of women’s leadership and skills in the RMG sector. They highlight these factors as crucial for inclusive and sustainable business.
Bangladesh’s RMG sector still struggles with a mere 5% of supervisory roles held by women, a situation compounded by a persistent wage gap. However, an impact assessment conducted by Oxford University revealed that trained female workers and supervisors experienced a 39% increase in their wages, a 5% increase in line efficiency, and enhanced confidence and capabilities.
At a recent event in Chittagong, titled “Gender Equality and Returns (GEAR): Advancing Women Leadership, Skills Development, and Productivity in the Supply Chain,” stakeholders noted the positive changes taking place in the RMG industry.
GEAR, a collaborative initiative by the ILO and the IFC Better Work program, has trained 800 female workers since 2016, 528 of whom have been promoted to supervisory roles.
Tuomo Poutiainen, Country Director of the ILO, said, “The progress we see in Bangladesh’s RMG sector is impressive. It demonstrates how gender equality is both a moral imperative and an effective strategy for economic growth.” He further informed that the ILO is committed to expanding GEAR to foster a more inclusive workforce and drive tangible improvements in productivity and competitiveness.
Speakers at the event, organized in partnership with the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE), emphasized the essential role of the government, factory owners, buyers, development partners, UN agencies, and civil society organizations (CSOs) in creating a more equitable garment industry.
Park Young Sik, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Bangladesh and a partner of the Better Work program, said, “The strides made here in gender equality inspire many.”
Leena Khan, Labor Attaché at the U.S. Embassy, stated, “We recognize the program’s work with governments, employers, workers, trade unions, and global brands to improve worker rights in the garment industry and to make the sector more competitive.”