Rolled out in 2016, the programme has made significant strides in advancing women’s economic potential and improving access to better jobs and opportunities for women.
“I would slowly but surely like to rise from my current position as a supervisor to a line-chief, then an assistant production manager and finally become a production manager,” said Popy Aktar, a GEAR-trained supervisor who works for Sparrow Apparels Ltd in Gazipur.
Despite 80 per cent of line-operators in the sewing sections of the garment sector being women, 19 out of 20 line-supervisors are male. This means 90 per cent of the managerial talent in factories comes from just 20 per cent of the workforce, ILO said in a press release.
To date, GEAR has trained 144 female workers; 58 of whom are now in supervisory roles. Impact assessment shows that lines led by GEAR-trained females experienced an average increase of 5 per cent in efficiency. The GEAR-promoted female supervisors also saw - on average - a 39 per cent increase in salary. After a successful pilot, Better Work is scaling up GEAR to train 700 female operators and their managers in 70 factories to promote career-progression opportunities for women in the RMG sector, the release added.
"Canada is advancing gender equality worldwide through Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. It is not just about hiring or buying from women. It's about recognising talent, capabilities, and value that is too often disregarded due to gender bias," said Benoit Préfontaine, high commissioner of Canada.
“Gender equality and gender empowerment was one of the core founding principles of the ILO in 1919. 100 years on and this is still central to our work. But much more needs to be done in advancing gender diversity - not just in the RMG sector but in every sector,” Tuomo Poutiainen, country director, ILO Bangladesh, said.
"Increasing efficiency and broad-based employment is a key part of competitiveness for the RMG sector. There is a strong business case to having more females in leadership positions. Through the GEAR program, we hope to actively work on increasing career-progression opportunities and promotion of women and addressing the gender imbalances in leadership roles in the garment sector," Nuzhat Anwar, acting country manager, IFC, said. (RR)
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