Since the 1980s, the ready–made garments (RMG) sector has opened up the door that allowed poor people, particularly women, to potentially lead a better life in Bangladesh. Economic globalisation has led to the growth of more employment opportunities for those women who are from the most disadvantaged sector of the society and the greatest beneficiaries of employment in the RMG sector as they have gained the power to earn. However, these women workers are also the most vulnerable to the weak legal provisions and compliance enforcement of this sector. Given the situation, the intention of the study is to highlight a bridge between group theories and institutional models through an advanced policy model-process to uphold the rights and enhance empowerment of women labourers in the RMG sector of Bangladesh. Using group theories, the study shows that decision making in the RMG sector has given high concentration to a few policy actors who are economic elites, such as entrepreneurs, and has given highest priority to achieving monetary returns. Evidence from research proves that the trade unions are virtually absent and therefore, women workers’ collective bargaining activities for addressing their grievances is limited (Mahmud & Kabeer, 2003, p.33). Moreover, literature suggests that the factory owners are vigilant to the threat of stakeholders like unions or employees’ associations and are largely responsible for causing unhealthy management-labour relations in RMG (Afsar, 2004, p. 142; Khan, 2004, p. 173). This has led to the violation of Bangladeshi women workers’ basic rights, including equal pay, job security and trade unionism, and labour standards such as health and safety issues. The study argues that, inadequate legislative enforcement, ‘for ensuring labour rights as well as codes of conduct’ largely ignore women workers’ voice and rights in the elite-led RMG sector of Bangladesh.
Chowdhury, Dilruba Shoma
Women's Rights and Voice in the Ready-Made Garments Sector of Bangladesh: Evidence from Theory and Practice.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 18(2), 118-133.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol18/iss2/8