The participation of working women in readymade garments (RMG) factories has increased significantly, but not in other export-oriented industries, according to a study unveiled on Wednesday.
Due to their low participation, women cannot contribute much to the country's economy. Gender inequality in industrial employment has become a major obstacle to the industrial and overall economy of the country, the study finds.
The study titled "Exports and Gender Gap in Manufacturing Employment" was presented at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).
Md Moniruzzaman, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Dhaka, carried out the study. He presented the findings himself at the seminar.
The study found that women living close to garment factories were more likely to have access to industrial employment, subject to other conditions remaining unchanged.
Thus, living close to export-oriented factories plays an important role in eliminating gender inequality in industrial employment, it added.
Md Moniruzzaman said creating such opportunities of living close to export-oriented industries would further increase women's participation.
He said job opportunities in export-oriented factories have resulted in a significant reduction in gender inequality in the export industries.
The study also found that job opportunities in export-oriented factories make it possible to improve women's participation in domestic decision-making.
Speaking on the occasion, BIDS Director-General Dr Binayak Sen said although the participation of women in other sectors has increased in the last few decades, women's participation in the export industries has not increased as per the potential.
"Women can play a greater role in the country's economy if they have the opportunity to work in more export-oriented industries," he added.