Equality and discrimination in Bangladesh

  • ILO Bangladesh celebrated International Women’s Day 2017

  • Country Director Srinivas Reddy took part in a performance of the play ‘Seven’ highlighting the inspiring stories of seven women

  • ILO staff made pledges to mark women’s day: What would they do for gender equality in 2017?

  • Passages were read from the works of famous women authors

  • Street theatre group ‘Bottala’ performed a powerful piece about sexual harassment

  • Individual pledges highlighted staff commitments

  • How they would boost gender equality in their daily lives

  • in the workplace

  • as well as things that should change for the better!

Supporting indigenous and tribal people
See more photos on ILO Bangladesh Flickr photo library 
The rapid growth of the Bangladesh ready-made garment industries, which employ approximately 4.2 million workers, has created considerable employment opportunities for women in Bangladesh. Some estimates put the number of women workers in the sector as high as 80 per cent.

Although women make up half of the population of Bangladesh, they still account for only about a third of the labour market, often working at the lowest level of the jobs hierarchy with little employment security. Many are also engaged in the informal economy where the application of social protection and legislation is negligent. Large numbers of women (approximately 56,000 in 2013) migrate overseas for domestic work where they can find themselves vulnerable to exploitation while the trafficking of women from Bangladesh remains an issue.

Bangladesh is also home to around 3 million indigenous and tribal peoples (ITPs) from more than 50 ethnic backgrounds. They belong to the most disadvantaged sections of Bangladeshi society and face multiple challenges including economic, cultural, social and political marginalization.

ILO is working in with a variety of partners including government ministries, workers and employers organisations as well as social partners to promote gender equality, eliminate discrimination and counter exploitation in the world of work.

Activities include mainstreaming gender in the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP); promoting women’s participation and gender equality in the trade union movement; promoting and protecting rights of female and male migrant workers; access by women and young people to skills training; and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh through capacity building and advocacy. 

Specific ILO equality and discrimination related initiatives currently being carried out:

Key resources

  1. The gender wage gap in Bangladesh

    01 June 2008

    This study presents the first comprehensive estimates of the role that gender plays in determining hourly wage gaps between women and men in Bangladesh, by examining gender wage gaps across different industries, among workers with different levels of education and among workers operating across different sized establishments. The paper also provides the first quantitative estimates of the effects of industrial and occupational segregation on average wage rates for women and men in the country.