Guardian article on female garment workers in Bangladesh not only offensive but also a gross overgeneralization: BGMEA Chief
A recent article published by The Guardian, framing the lives of female garment workers in Bangladesh between factory and brothel, is not only offensive but also a gross overgeneralization, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan has said. It risks overshadowing the remarkable transformation of women's empowerment propelled by the nation's RMG industry, he said in a statement, condemning the article that he said “defames women at work.” "It’s true that individual hardships exist, but framing women workers within a single struggle is potentially harming them by provoking radicalism, causing social stigma and mental illness," Faruque said. Such a narrative is a disservice to their lives and dreams they cherish, he said. “The report itself appears to be incorrect to us as it says that the mentioned female worker works for a large factory, it didn’t mention the name; and there is hardly any export-oriented garment factory located at the place as the report mentions, except for a few tailoring facilities catering to the local market only,” he said. “The report does not only perpetuate harmful stereotypes against women at work, but also defames an industry that employs millions of women and contributes significantly to national economy," said the BGMEA chief. Rest of the BGMEA chief's statement Consider this: in a moderate Muslim country, Bangladesh has emerged as a model in the region in women’s empowerment and gender parity, he said. “The World Economic Forum's recent Gender Gap Report places Bangladesh at the top in South Asia for gender equality for the 9th consecutive year, ranking the country 59th globally. “The labor force participation rate of women has soared from a mere 8% in 1983 to a remarkable 38% today. Read: Despite anticipated challenges in 2024, int’l market demand for RMG products could rise: BGMEA Director “Women’s contribution to Bangladesh's GDP growth is estimated at a staggering 34% and it continues to rise. “For millions of less privileged women having less literacy and skills, the RMG industry is the first formal sector of employment. “Through this industry, women have emerged as the critical support for their families, achieving economic independence and social empowerment. “Early marriage and motherhood are declining, primarily education enrolment is on the rise and as per many experts, the industry has led to increase in girls’ schooling. “Maternal and child health, too, have gained momentum, nourished by improved nutrition and a heightened awareness of healthcare. “The ascent isn't confined to the shop floor. Women are scaling the ranks, their talents are gracing technical departments in the industry like industrial engineering, product designing and merchandising, as well as taking on leadership positions. “When they leave the factories, they leave footprints of entrepreneurial spirit, transforming into owners of their own businesses. Read: Sustainable fashion: Bangladesh's RMG sector leads with 24 new LEED green factories in 2023 “This industry has become a launchpad for leadership. “While writing a report remotely, without having proper understanding of the background and reality, to deliberately portray the bleak picture, one must acknowledge the broader narrative – millions of women rising from poverty, gaining skills, and forging a path towards brighter futures for themselves and their families. “Beyond all these, the industry has taken an unprecedented stance to support aspiring women workers to pursue their dream for higher education. “Currently around 90 young female RMG workers are pursuing higher studies in the Asian University for Women under the Pathways for Promise program. “While the girls pursue their bachelor studies with full scholarship from the university, the employer factories continue to pay the full wages to them throughout the entire tenure of their study. “The ‘promise’ is to make them fearless and think big. Not only that, through this industry women have got the opportunity to emerge as the critical support to the family. “There are numerous instances that the sons and daughters of workers are pursuing higher education in engineering, medical science and many more disciplines through the humble support of the factories. “This is our story, one of transformation, of empowerment, of women rising like threads on a loom, weaving a new Bangladesh. Let us move beyond sensationalized headlines and acknowledge the multifaceted reality of women at work. Read more: Milestone for RMG as Bangladesh becomes top source of Knitwear into EU market “Let us celebrate their achievements, address their challenges, and work towards a future where all Bangladeshi women can thrive, in factories and beyond. “Our garment workers are the heartbeat of our industry, and I, for one, find my strength in their courage, their resilience, and their unwavering spirit. They are the threads that bind our nation together, the driving force propelling us towards a future where gender is not a barrier, but a bridge – a future where Bangladeshi women stand tall, not just as workers, but as architects of their own destinies.”
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, on Wednesday suggested taking immediate step to bring 856 hazardous garment factories under monitoring to avoid tragedies. Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of CPD, made the suggestion at a briefing on 'Workplace safety in the garment industry: Challenges to sustain achievement' at the CPD office in Dhanmondi. Read: Bangladesh keen to increase its readymade garments exports to Canada: BGMEA chief Executive director of CPD Dr Fahmida Khatun moderated the event. Other researchers of the organization were present at the briefing. Moazzem said, “There are still many risky garment factories in the country. 1887 factories are under the monitoring of the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) and 350 factories have been identified as safe.” He said that 659 factories are under the monitoring of the Remediation Coordination Cell (RCC) and a total of 2,896 factories are under the monitoring of RSC and RCC. However, 856 factories, which is around 23 percent of the total factories, are currently not under any inspection. Read: Garments workers burn 3 police bikes at protest demanding pay rise An eye should be kept on how these factories can be brought under security, he said. Moazzem said 856 factories are doing business and exports are also going on but there is no monitoring of them. This number of factories without monitoring is likely to increase and it may go up to 30 percent of the total factories in the near future, he added. Read: Tk 6.62cr worth garments seized at Ctg port “If there is an accident in these factories who will take responsibility? BGMEA and BKMEA will not take responsibility. We want all factories to be made accountable to some organization,” Moazzem said. According to the CPD, 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse. In the decade following this disaster, significant initiatives have been taken to improve workplace safety in the garment industry in Bangladesh. In particular, the formation of Accords and Alliances and the activities they operate have provided strong guidance for workplace safety oversights, it said.
Bangladesh’s apparel export will cross the $100-billion target by 2030, considering the potentials of the markets in Europe, the Uk, and the USA amid declining share of Chinese garments, experts have said. The global apparel market size will be around $1135 billion in 2030. During this period Bangladeshi apparel exporters expect to get at least 10 per cent or $100 billion of the global market share. The current global apparel market volume is around $560 billion, where Bangladesh’s export share was $43 billion in FY 2021-22, up by 36 per cent year-on-year (July to June). Read: Uniform rate: Tk 108/dollar max for remittance, Tk 99/dollar for export income from tomorrow The apparel export saw a good start in FY 2022-23 with July-August earnings reaching $7.11 billion, posting 26 per cent growth compared to the same period of last fiscal year, said Faruque Hassan, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). International trade expert Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque told UNB that Europe and the USA are the potentially growing markets for Bangladesh’s apparel products. Bangladesh has an additional export potential of $20 billion in the EU and the UK, he said adding that currently the country can utilise less than 60 per cent of its export potentials to these markets. Read BGMEA for shoring up Bangladesh-India interactions in apparel, textile Razzaque, who is also chairman of RAPID, a think tank, quoted a recent report in this regard. In order to reach $100 billion target the country has to achieve an annual export growth of 11.45 per cent. As Chines apparel export share is declining in the western market due to rising tension between the West and China, Bangladeshi exporters are likely to take advantage of the situation to boost their products, he opined. China is moving away from low-value-added apparel to more sophisticated items, this can be an advantage for Bangladeshi apparel exporters, he said. Also read: BGMEA, Eswatini for investment in apparel, textile joint ventures The EU apparel market size is $200 billion while the US market is $90 billion to $100 billion. The Chinese market is around $11 billion while the Indian market is 1.1 billion, so Bangladesh has to expand its export share in the EU and US markets by 12 per cent and 15 per cent respectively, Razzaque suggested. In 2030, Bangladesh’s export share in the EU market would have been $65 billion and $24 billion in the US market, which is achievable considering the resilience of the country despite Covid-19 pandemic. In the post-Covid-19 pandemic period apparel export volume of the country is showing upward trends due to the resilience of the country’s people, said Md Jillur Rahman, assistant professor of Economics at Jagannath University. Read Bangladesh to retain fame as safe, sustainable apparel sourcing destination: BGMEA He said Bangladesh’s apparel export to the EU market grew by 59.5 per cent in the January to June period of 2022. It shows the prospects of Bangladesh's growing apparel export to the EU market, he said. Dr Razzaque, however, cautioned that achieving $100 billion export target of Bangladesh’s apparel industry will not be cake walk. Logistic facility, port handling capacity and skilled labour, environment and labour rights will be burning issues. Bangladesh must focus on AI-developed equipment skilled labor and labor wage satisfaction to face the challenges in the coming years. Read 'Electronics exports to overtake apparel'
A Bangladeshi-flagged ship has started its journey from Muktarpur of Munshiganj to India carrying jhut, the scrap fabric produced by the RMG industry, for the first time in the country's history. The ship 'MV Razzaku' started its journey around 12:45 pm from Char Muktarpur River Port for Dhubri Port in Assam of India. India's Bhansali International is importing 111 metric tonnes of jhut from Moktar Hossain Traders of Bangladesh. Also read: Transit: First cargo ship from India arrives at Mongla port for trial run Bangladesh will earn $26,085 by exporting the scrap fabric, produced as a waste in the RMG industry. But as a recycled good, it has been gaining in value in recent years. People concerned said this shipment has a special value ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming India visit. Also read: How Padma Bridge led to largest shipment of reconditioned cars to arrive at Mongla Port Summit Alliance Port Limited assistant manager Md Ruhul Amin said this export has opened a new door for Bangladesh. Bangladesh can export about one lakh metric tonnes of recycled yarn to India, for use in more high-end lines. There is a huge demand for this wastage in India's Assam, Maharashtra, Hariana, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, he added.
A 26-year-old garment worker was stabbed to death by muggers in the city’s Pallabi area on Monday night. The deceased was identified as Raihan Hossain, a resident of Palashnagar area of Pallabi. The deceased's father Raju Mia said the muggers attacked Raihan at Lalmatia truck stand around 9pm when he went out to buy medicines. The mugger stabbed him in the stomach when he resisted the snatching and took away his money and mobile phone set. READ: Man stabbed dead by muggers in city Later, locals took him to a local hospital and then to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) where the doctor declared him dead. Inspector Bachchu Mia, in-charge of DMCH police camp, said the body was kept at the hospital morgue for an autopsy.
A Dhaka Court on Wednesday sentenced four people to death for killing a machine operator of a garment factory in Ashulia. Dhaka Additional District and Sessions Judge Ismet Ara handed down the verdict, said Shakila Jiasmin Mitu, counsel for the state. The death row convicts are- Sohel Rana, Farhad Hossain, Md Ashikur Rahman and Md Nazrul Islam. All of the convicts were fined Tk 20,000 each, in default, to serve six months more imprisonment. Besides, the court fined them Tk 10,000 each, in default, to suffer five years more imprisonment as they demanded ransom. READ: Munia murder case: Saifa Mim lands in jail According to the case documents, Md Tanim, a machine operator of a garment factory in Ashulia, went missing on July 22 in 2017. Police recovered his body from a jungle near Khagan village in Ashulia three days later. However,police could not identify the body and filed an unnatural death case in this regard. Meanwhile, Tanim’s wife Nurunnahar filed a general diary at Kafrul Police Station on August 10 in the same year. On the other hand, Tanim's mother Saida Sultana filed another case at Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court against Sohel alleging abduction and demanding ransom. Ashulia police station was directed to take the case. READ: Sinha murder case: OC Pradeep & Liakat appeal to HC for acquittal The investigation revealed that the convicts recorded Tanim’s voice on a mobile phone and used the recording to demand money from Tanim’s mother . They also promised to let him go if she gave the ransom.