Female RMG workers are almost twice as vulnerable to spousal violence (SV) as other married women across the country, a new study has revealed.
The study also found that depression is the most likely outcome of SV or adverse workplace experience as around 40% of female RMG workers have reported symptoms of depression.
The UK-funded study, jointly conducted by ICDDR,B and BSR’s HER project, was released Monday.
The study showed that almost 60% of female RMG workers Bangladesh have experienced some form of physical or verbal violence at work which push them to put up with the same treatment from their male counterpart at home.
The use of violence is normalized as a disciplinary measure for workers because of the hierarchical structure of a garment factory, the high-pressure environment based on meeting production targets, and the social standing of women, particularly of young, migrant female workers.
Kauser Parvin, assistant scientist of ICDDR,B notes that approximately 40% of the garment workers had symptoms of depression. SV contributed to depression through increased adverse workplace experience, work related stress, and reduced general health, self-esteem and life satisfaction.
“Business can indeed play a leading role in preventing and addressing SV by leveraging the workplace as engines of positive social change,” said Marat Yu, manager, HERproject.
“The workplace is a powerful space to shape attitudes and behaviours, as well as create positive role models. Workers – men and women – will be less willing to accept violence at home and in communities if they work in a respectful environment,” he added.
The research shows that any experience of violence, be it SV and/or adverse workplace experience increases work-related stress which in turn leads to the development of depression which in many cases, reduces productivity.
The findings suggest promoting gender sensitivity would improve women’s mental health through enhanced self-esteem and life satisfaction and productivity.