The Readymade Garment (RMG) Industry occupies a dominant position in the export manufacturing sector of Bangladesh. Most of the workers employed in this industry are women, mainly to exploit the comparative advantages they provide in terms of cheap labour, low bargaining power and their docility etc. It follows that there will be substantial gender differentiated socio-economic impacts in this export oriented manufacturing sector. The main objective of this book is to identify these gender differentiated socio-economic impacts and to measure the extent to which these impacts on the garment industry in Bangladesh. The analysis in this book is based on the findings of a number of surveys conducted by BIDS. It finds women's employment in the export oriented garment industry of Bangladesh has narrowed down the gender gap in many spheres like employment, income, social prestige, control over income, decision making etc. At the same time women's employment widens the gender gap in other spheres such as health, social security etc. Tension and ambivalence are also more prevalent among female workers than among male workers. It also finds that occupational segregation and gender discrimination in wage rates were wide. Women cannot reap the full potential of their employment if these gender imbalances are not addressed. Most of the policy recommendations in this study aimed at eliminating or minimising the gender imbalances arising from women's employment in the export oriented garment industries.
Anwara Begum has an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the Calcutta University. In 1995 she obtained a Ph.D. on a Commonwealth Scholarship, in Urban and Regional Planning from the Department of Civic Design, University of Liverpool, UK. Her study fields are urban area development priority, housing and settlements and the problems of social and economic deprivation of the urban poor, Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction, education for poverty reduction and rural-to-urban migration.
Dr. Pratima Paul-Majumder's research work was groundbreaking in a wide range of subjects from sericulture to economics of slums and squatter settlement to garment industry and gender issues. Some of her important publications are: Women in Manufacturing Industries of Dhaka City (ILO/ARTEP, New Delhi), Women, Work and Home (BIDS, Dhaka), and A Study on Urban Poverty: Its Nature and Extent (Arani Publications, Dhaka).