If Bangladesh can raise the participation of women in labour force by 10% within the next five years, it would play a pivotal role in driving the GDP growth by 1%, experts have said.
“Currently, the contribution of women workforce in our GDP growth is 34%,” said World Bank lead economist Dr Zahid Hossain, reports BSS.
He said the participation of women in workforce would take the country forward in attaining higher GDP growth in line with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) President Selima Ahmed said without empowering the women, Bangladesh cannot achieve SDGs as gender equality is one of the key components of the 17 goals.
“The chamber has already provided training to over 35,000 women and is working to impart training to 9,000 more women in 120 upazilas across the country to make them self-dependent,” she added.
Selima, also vice-chairperson of the Nitol-Niloy Group, urged all to give women proper support including finance and training for achieving the country’s development goals.
According to a Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) study report, women entrepreneurs constitute about 10% of the total business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh whereas women in advanced market economies own more than 25% of all business.
“It is heartening to note that despite many barriers, a new class of women entrepreneurs has risen in the country taking on the challenge to work in a male-dominated, competitive and complex economic and business environment,” said Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BUILD.
Not only have their entrepreneurship improved their living conditions and earned more respect for their family and society, but also contributed to business and export growth, supplies, employment generation, productivity and skills development, added the CEO.
A survey data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) revealed that women own only 2.8% of all enterprises outside agriculture in Bangladesh.
This figure exposed that while progress is being made towards the equality of women and men in the decision-making level, women remain under-represented.
Women entrepreneurs are mostly engaged in manufacturing (54%) such as fashion (textile) products, boutique, handicrafts, printing etc.
Anis A Khan, chairman of Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), said participation of women in all kinds of labour forces is essential to sustain the development of the country.
In the banking sector, he said the role of women bankers is laudable as they have dedication to the work and they always maintain their office time perfectly.
Khan, also managing director of the Mutual Trust Bank Limited, said about 21% of the total employees of his bank are women and their performance is not less than that of their male counterparts.
The Department of Youth Development (DYD) Director General, Anwarul Karim, said DYD is working relentlessly to make the youth, especially the young women, self-reliant.
“DYD has already provided necessary training for about 48 lakh youths till July 2016, and of them, 20 lakh have become self-reliant,” he added.
Around 30% of the total trained youths are women and most of the training modules of the department are for women.