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Workplace environment, access to finance critical for women’s paid work

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) should include women’s paid and unpaid economic contribution and workplaces should be made women-friendly to enable women’s engagement in paid work.

Female labour force participation has been increasing gradually in Bangladesh, however access to finance seems crucially important for women’s involvement in paid work.

access-finance-workplace-environment-critical-womens-work-cpd
(right) Ms Shahida Pervin presented the study

 

As part of CPD Young Scholars’ Seminar Series (YSSS), CPD Research Associate Ms Shahid Pervin made the observations by analysing the dataset of the nationwide CPD survey “Estimating Women`s Contribution to the Economy: the Case of Bangladesh,”

The work in progress titled “Dynamics of Labour Force Participation in Bangladesh with Special Reference to Women” was shared with CPD research colleagues on Thursday, 23 July 2015.

The findings of the study suggest that education positively affects full time and negatively affects part time paid work involvement choice. Microcredit positively affects women`s willingness to be involved in paid work. Replacement wage, paid to the hired worker for doing the household work, positively affects involvement choice and preferably for part-time paid work. Time spent in unpaid household work positively affects willingness to be involved in paid work.

Per capita household income has significant negative effect on women`s willingness to be involved in paid work. Solvency can be thought of as substitute for dignity or empowerment earned through paid work and hence women do paid work for solvency rather than earning dignity or empowerment.

Total household land holding did not have any significant influence on women`s willingness to do paid work. This is probably because assets may not satisfy current needs and play insignificant role in women’s choice of work. Marital status, having child in the household, and number of other female members (aged 15 years and above) in the household negatively affect women`s choice of paid work involvement.

Family and household characteristics is a matter of concern as these strike the structure of family institution of Bangladesh. Women in urban area are less interested to work for payment which reflects the LFS observation that women of rural area surpassed the urban since 2005-06. This could be the effect of microcredit and informal agriculture sector in rural area.

access-finance-workplace-environment-critical-womens-work-cpd2The study showed that women are mostly involved in unpaid work, much of which is non-economic and hence women are underrepresented in the labour force. Women labour force participation rate is substantially low in Bangladesh compared to men. In 2010, while male laboure force participation rate was 82.5 percent, it was 36 percent for female.

According to a CPD study conducted this year, women`s unpaid work is equivalent to 77-87 percent of total output of Bangladesh in 2014.

The study also recommended that issues arising from family and household factors (e.g., marriage, child, other female member) should be resolved, familial responsibility should be shared between members and marital partner and in-law-house environment should be sensitised to women.

Mother-friendly work environment might support the women who have children of 6 years or less. Suitable part-time work should be created for women as educated women do not want to be involved in part time paid work at present.

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