Empowering women in Bangladesh is really tough due to such male dominated society; but it is not impossible. The development and involvement of women in social and business arena is gradually increasing. Hundreds of NGO’s and Development organizations are working for the women. But there are only a few organizations who are dedicatedly working with the grassroots women. Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs, Bangladesh (AGWEB) is one of the unique associations who are working for them as well as for others.
Now-a-days, women are overcoming many social problems with the help of many development organizations. In the South Asia, the development of women empowerment is remarkable. Women are now playing many major roles in different sectors with success. In Bangladesh, there are many examples of its success. Now, there is no area or sector in Bangladesh in which women are not present. From SME to the leader, women are everywhere. And Association of Grassroots Women Entrepreneurs, Bangladesh (AGWEB) is continuously working for the establishment of women empowerment in every sector.
Bangladesh is often cited as a global model for sustainable economic development. Despite being one of the world’s largest in terms of population, and most prone to natural disasters as a result of global climate change, the country has maintained an impressive 6% plus annual economic growth trajectory during the past decade.
According to a number of reports, the country’s focus on giving women better health and more economic autonomy has had a significant impact on rural household incomes, poverty reduction and increased educational enrolment, particularly for females who usually lag behind males in the Global South. The Economist (Nov 3, 2012) notes that “both the boom in the textile industry and the arrival of microcredit have, over the past 20 years, put money into women’s pockets—from which it is more likely to be spent on health, education and better food.” The textile industry in Bangladesh, regarded as the key to its economic growth, employs nearly 4 million people, most of whom are women. There is an abundance of literature supporting the relationship between women’s empowerment in the economic sector in Bangladesh and the country’s sustained economic development trajectory.
Women in Agriculture
Despite their routine work, women are very actively involved in agricultural production in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, around 120 millions of people are involved in agricultural sector. Among those people about 53.25% are male and 46.75% are female. The agriculture sector accounted for nearly 17.3% of GDP which provides 19.36 billion USD. Women contribution in GDP is USD 11.81 billion.
Women in RMG (Ready-Made Garments)
The RMG industry of Bangladesh started in the late 1970s and became an important player in the economy. The industry has contributed to export earnings, foreign exchange earnings, employment creation, poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women.
In 2011, out of 4 million manpower employed in garments industries, 3.12 million are women (78%); majorities of them are disadvantaged and economically poverty stricken women folk. With the growth of RMG industry, linkage industries supplying fabrics, yams, accessories, packaging materials, etc. have also expanded. Many women are getting opportunities to work in those industries. Contribution in GDP: Approx. 12.5% of total GDP
Bangladesh is a developing nation, rich in human resource, where women constitute slightly less than a half of the population. The majority of them are underprivileged, under nourished, illiterate and poor. Moreover, without the garment sector, there are not enough employment opportunities for women. Therefore economic activities through self-employment have become essential for potential working women. As a matter of fact, women entrepreneurship or women in business has gained importance and acts as a very recent phenomenon in Bangladesh. Although women are taking entrepreneurship in many challenging fields, their activities in Bangladesh are not that extensive. However, in spite of fewer opportunities, many women have successes in business although; they are very small in number.
In Bangladesh, women entrepreneurship started developing in fact after the liberation of Bangladesh. Very few women entered the profession of business before seventies. Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs need to have an extra quality in form of dogged determination and resilience since this is needed to fight with adverse situations which seem to confront female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts in the present-day context.