Depression among female garment workers in Bangladesh is rising due to spousal violence while it marked high in 2017, said a study report.
According to the report, 27 percent garments workers are victims to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Bangladesh which marked high during the last 12 months of 2017.
Fifty-three percent female workers were identified as victims to the Spousal Violence (SV) and among them 40 percent female workers reported symptoms of depression.
The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) revealed the study report on Monday. The study was conducted under BSR’s HER project funded by the UK Aid.
The report also revealed that business can play a leading role in preventing and addressing spousal violence, by leveraging the workplace as platforms of positive social change while almost 60 percent of female garment workers in Bangladesh experienced some forms of physical or verbal violence at workplace.
The report said the use of violence is normalised as a disciplinary measure for workers because of the hierarchal structure of a garment factory, the high-pressure environment based on meeting production targets, and the social standing of women, particularly of young, migrant female workers.
It said women’s financial empowerment also has mixed effects on women’s vulnerability to spousal violence. In some situations, women’s financial empowerment can serve to protect them against the spousal violence, in others, where women are not supposed to be financially strong, it can have the opposite effect.
This research shows a worker’s savings higher than BDT 50,000 increased her vulnerability to spousal violence several times (three times to physical spousal violence and two times to sexual and economic spousal violence).
Dr Ruchira Tabassum Naved from icddr,b said that approximately 40 percent of garment workers had depressive symptoms while spousal violence contributed to depression through increased adverse workplace experience, work-related stress; and reduced general health, self-esteem and life satisfaction.
Adverse workplace experience contributed to depression both directly and through increased work-related stress; and reduced general health and life satisfaction, she added.
She said until now, the effects of spousal violence and adverse workplace experience on female garment workers’ mental health had not been studied in Bangladesh. This is why the pathways through which experience of spousal violence and adverse workplace experience lead to development of depressive symptomatology have remained unknown.
The rate of spousal violence and depressive symptomatology is high among female garment workers. As previously found, the experience of violence has an adverse impact on women’s mental health, whether it is spousal violence or adverse workplace experience contributed to depression both directly and through increased work-related stress; and reduced general health and life satisfaction, she added.
“Business can indeed play a leading role in preventing and addressing SV,” says Marat Yu, Manager, HER project, “By leveraging the workplace as engines of positive social change. The workplace is a powerful space to shape attitudes and behaviour, as well as create positive role models. Workers – men and women – will be less willing to accept violence at home and in communities if they work in a respectful environment.”