Empowering Women of Bangladesh in the Garment Industry
Women’s empowerment is an important aspect of the social, political and economic life of developing countries. Globally, women’s economic and political empowerment performance has changed through education and labor, but it is still unsatisfactory. Bangladesh is a developing country with a key role in the global competitive Ready-Made Garment (RMG) industry where women are the majority. This paper discusses the existing societal inequalities in Bangladesh, the condition of female workers in the RMG industry, and challenges the current built environment of the garment industry. How can architecture influence the RMG Sector of Bangladesh leading to women empowerment? It includes literature pertaining to the rights of female workers, the environmental and safety issues of the garment industry in Bangladesh to identify the key problems and explore aspects of the built environment helping women to be self-independent and educated about their rights. Observation of factory practices and quantitative data based on interviews with female workers are the methods of this research. Analysis of architectural projects such as Knitexpo Limited, Whitex Limited and Nandan Apparels (Bangladesh) frame design issues within current RMG conditions, and MAS Intimates Thurulie and Ipekyol Factory offer opportunities to reconsider the Bangladesh factory environment as these examples are from RMG global counterparts in other countries and successful addressing users’ need. This paper identifies the key elements of the garment manufacturing context to form a new architectural approach politically, culturally and socially to improve the condition of female workers in Bangladesh, elevate their value and provide opportunities leading to empowerment.