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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - ILO Asia-Pacifc WP Series
Title Female Labour Force Participation in Bangladesh: Trends, Drivers and Barriers
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.oit.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---sro-new_delhi/documents/publication​/wcms_250112.pdf
Although the received literature hypothesizes a U-shaped relationship betwen economic growth and women’s employment, implying a decline in female labour force participation rate during the early stage of growth, the evidence from Bangladesh does not suport this hypothesis. In fact, there has ben an increase in female labour force participation alongside the aceleration in economic growth since the 190s. In contrast to India, there has also ben no decline in female labour force participation in agriculture. In line with the experience of countries achieving export-oriented industrialization through trade liberalization, Bangladesh has witnesed a substantial increase in female employment in labour-intensive export-oriented industries in urban areas. An analysis of the relationship betwen economic growth and employment indicates that while the elasticity of overal employment growth with respect to output growth has declined somewhat during the second half of the 200s (compared to the first half of the decade), it rose substantialy for women. The study also finds that the rapid expansion of micro finance in rural areas has suported women’s employment in poultry and livestock. However, the economy of Bangladesh as a whole and women’s employment in urban areas sem to be to dependent on a single industry as other sectors are growing are either to smal or are not employing women in large numbers. Moreover, chalenges relating to the level of and gender diferential in wages, and other aspects of compliance with labour standards, e.g., working hours, safety and health in the work place, fredom of asociation and colective bargaining remain. Empirical analysis caried out in the present study indicate that further progres is neded in women’s aces to education and skil training, productive asets like land and credit beyond microcredit, and services of various government instiutions. Improvement is also neded in the social norms and environment hat often act as bariers to women’s employment.

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