WOMEN IN THE GARMENT INDUSTRY OF BANGLADESH; A PARADOX OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND TRANSFORMATION OF STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE
AuthorHabib, Md. Ahsun
This thesis examines whether the presence of women in the garment industry of Bangladesh is a means of empowerment or just a continuation of structural violence. Due to the patriarchal system in Bangladesh, structural violence against women has been an ongoing problem throughout the country’s history. The focus of this research is that structural violence is still present in the society and in the garment sector, which halt the social and economic empowerment of women. Using a gender lens along with the concepts of structural violence and empowerment, this study largely focuses on the socio-economic empowerment of female garment workers in Bangladesh. Qualitative method has been applied in this study, which includes fifteen in-depth interviews, one focus group discussion, and observations, though quantitative surveys have been used from secondary sources. The findings show that women workers are seemingly empowered socially and economically through their involvement in the garment sector. But female workers face restrictions from their male family members when they intend to join the garment sector, which is similar to structural violence within the household. Additionally, female workers face structural violence from the very beginning of their joining the garment industry. Women workers do not receive any contract papers while being recruited in the textile industry. Consequently, their employers can easily exploit them by giving them a low salary, not ensuring their proper working environment, not allowing them holidays, and harassing them physically and mentally. Due to their joining the garment industry and due to extremely long working hours, female workers feel that their social status is decreased. Though women are getting benefits from the garment sector in terms of their income, the negative sides outweigh the positive sides of women workers’ involvement in the garment sector. As a result, it impedes the transformation of structural violence in society and thus, social and economic empowerment of women through their enrolment in the garment industry of Bangladesh is paradoxical. Key words: Empowerment, women empowerment, structural violence, gender and gender inequality.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
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