’10pc rise in women workforce to raise 1pc GDP’

DHAKA, March 7, 2017 (BSS) - If Bangladesh can raise the participation of women in labour force by 10 percent within the next five years, it would play a role to drive the GDP growth by one percent, say experts.

"Currently, the contribution of women workforce in our GDP growth is 34 percent," said World Bank lead economist Dr Zahid Hossain.

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 the 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 per cent of the total business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh whereas women in advanced market economies own more than 25 percent of all business.

"It is heartening to note that despite many barriers, a new woman entrepreneur class 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 entrepreneurships improved their living conditions and earned more respect in the family and society, she said, but they are also contributing to business and export growth, supplies, employment generation, productivity and skills development.

A survey data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) revealed that women own only 2.8 percent 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 per cent) 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 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 percent of the total employees of his bank is women and their performance is not less than male ones.

Department of Youth Development (DYD) Director General Anwarul Karim said DYD is working relentlessly to make the youths, especially the young women, self-reliant.

"DYD already provided necessary training for about 48 lakh youths till July 2016 and of them, 20 lakh youths have become self-reliant," he added.

Around 30 percent of the total trained youths are women and most of the training modules of the department are for women, he said.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)