Gender Justice in the Global Manufacturing: Where Does It Stand? an Evidence from Garment Industry of Bangladesh

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:15 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Renata SEMENZA , Department of Social and Political Science, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Dr. Md. Ismail HOSSAIN , Department of Social Work, Shahjalal University of Science & Techonology, Sylhet, Bangladesh

Globalization of production has yielded contradictory consequences to the lives of women workers which question about gender justice. Supporters argue that globalization ensure gender justice because it brings positives changes to lives of women workers’ in various forms, like, expansion of employment opportunities leading to income earnings (Barrientoes, 1995; Razavi, 2001; Kabeer, 2004), breaking patriarchal bond (Lim, 1997), growth of self-awareness about rights and duties and participation in collective bargaining association (Gills, 2002), shifts in gender roles and value structure, reconfiguration of the public-private and production-reproduction dichotomies (Unni, 2002). On the other hand, critics reject the claim of economic benefit of women; rather state that it is pushing women into more vulnerable situation than they were before (Boserup, 1970; Elson and Pearson, 1981, 1997; Nash and Fernandez-Kelly, 1983; Acker, 2004; Caraway, 2007). They argue that working conditions and labour rights in global factories are characterized by unjust labour practices, such as insufficient wages, extremely long working hours with minimum compensation, lack of occupational safety and health, little access to maternity and childcare benefits, arbitrary punishment and workplace harassment, absence of union and low workers’ participation, presence of forced and compulsory labour, persisting workplace discrimination. Based on empirical evidences from Readymade Garment Industry of Bangladesh, this paper explores that gender justice is yet to achieve at the global factories following the conceptual framework of social justice by Amartya Sen (Sen, 2009). This paper concludes that labour justice can be ensured if all local-global actors (state, employers, employees, corporations, NGOs, consumers’ groups) play responsible and ethical role towards unfortunate workers.