Mishal, a youth activist with the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), highlights how Bangladesh still needs to work on ensuring equal pay and decent employment
Since 2015, all UN member countries have been working towards realizing Sustainable Development Goals with the pledge of "Leave no one behind" by 2030.
Every year, a High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is organized with the UN member countries where they present a National Voluntary Report (VNR) on their current position, adversities and ways to achieve their SDGs. This is the second time that a National Voluntary Report (VNR) has been submitted to HLPF from Bangladesh. In the context of Bangladesh, the current progress, position, adversity and ways to achieve the 17 goals and 179 goals of sustainable development have been explained in the report.
Sustainable Development Goal 8
“Create full and productive employment and decent employment opportunities for all and achieve stable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”
There are 12 targets to achieve this goal. These targets range from a stable national economy and per capita income to entrepreneurship and women's safety in the workplace.
Bangladesh’s 2020 National Voluntary Report shows commendable progress through increase in per capita income and GDP.
But to meet the SDG 8.5, we have to create full-time productive employment and decent employment opportunities, and ensure equal pay for equal work for all men and women, including youth and the disabled by 2030. Bangladesh did not show sufficient improvement in reducing the wage inequality between men and women for the same work.
Also Read- What is progress without gender equality?
Sustainable Development Goal 8.6
“By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.”
The report unfortunately shows no progress towards this target.
The report also claims significant improvement in workplace safety, which is an indicator of SDG 8.8.
For SDG 8.9, which emphasizes tourism development, it noted significant improvement. It said that the tourism sector has directly created 1.3 million jobs, and 2.4 million indirectly. It estimated that by 2030, it will create 6 million jobs in total.
SDG 8.10 indicates access to financial services like banking. According to the World Bank, over 50% of adult Bangladeshis have a bank account and 69.25% of Bangladeshis use mobile banking as of 2018.
One of the important recommendations made in the National Voluntary Report 2020 is to build a bridge between the labour market and educational institutions so the institutions develop students as a skilled labour force according to the market demands.
A strong link can be established between training centers and educational institutions for students’ ease of access. To meet the diversified demands in the market, NGOs can also propose new curricula or programs.
Decent work and economic growth are a major concern among the young generation who are working on social inequality and women's empowerment. Dignity and economic inclusion of women in the workplace play a vital role in women's empowerment.
92% of working women in our country are involved in informal work where security and benefits are not guaranteed. Women who work as labourers work harder than men but lag behind in wages and other benefits. According to the World Economic Forum, women are paid 32% less than men.
SDG 8 cannot be achieved unless women and men receive equal economic appraisal, labour structure, wages, medical care, and security in every sector. Workplaces require inclusive policies and laws (e.g., prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace) to ensure safety. Since a large number of women in our country are involved in domestic work, economic evaluation of their work (inclusion in the GDP) will ensure their economic inclusion along with raising their social status. Women working in the informal sector are the most vulnerable, but by institutionalizing their workplace we can transform them into partners in development.
All in all, as these goals are realized, the fairness in employment will lead to a heavily stimulated economy, akin to a rocket, which could fulfill Bangladesh’s potential as an economic powerhouse in the near future.
This article has been published under special arrangement as part of a partnership with Plan International Bangladesh