International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. Each year for International Women’s Day, the United Nations selects a theme. This years is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”
Textile Focus: More than 80% of women are working for the Bangladesh textile & apparel industry but at the top/decision-making level the presence of women is still very less. How you evaluate this how more women can come upon such top/decision-making positions in the T&A sector?
Shehrin Salam Oishe, Director, BGMEA and Envoy Group
This is actually not only the case of the RMG industry ,rather the whole nation- we grew up seeing our mother in the kitchen and our father carrying the briefcase. With all due respect, there’s no harm in that if anyone chooses to be a housewife but when it’s forced upon someone for clipping her wings when she wants to fly- that’s where the problem starts.
We believe the next step of women taking leadership will start from this industry and we are trying our best to create a conducive environment. We have the scope to turn the challenge of 4th IR into opportunity if we can prepare our existing women workforce with up-skilling while updating our national curriculum for the next generation with knowledge and skills required to face the challenges of 4th IR and reap its benefits.
BGMEA has already set up an innovation Centre with similar aim- where the upskilling women workers’ will be prioritized. Besides, we are working to create higher education opportunities for girls working in garment factories.
Currently 90 young female workers have enrolled in the Asian University for Women to pursue higher studies, whose salaries are being paid off by the factories themselves. While digitalization is inevitable, adapting women to changes and enabling them through digital literacy and skills would foment women’s participation in superior positions and we are trying to ensure that.