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Char Women Challenge 4IR

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 18th January, 2023 09:22:09 PM
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“Earlier I haven’t seen any automated single-needle sewing machine but now we are operating six types of multi-needle machines to make many innovative products,” said Najma Begum, a divorcee and victim of child marriage hailing from a displaced housing area of Balashi Gha at Fulchari Upazila of Gaibandha.

“Being in the remote char area, it’s a great opportunity to have intensive training on sewing techniques and running different automated machines”.

Women sewers were seen to get oriented on state of art sewing technologies in reusing textile scraps to make numerous household staffs during their training course on ‘sewing machine operator’.

Like Najma Begum, a group of 30 young women from the most underprivileged community of Bangladesh are being trained to take on the challenges of automation.

Eco-friendly Low-cost Liquid Absorbent (ELLA) Pad, a social initiative, have signed a strategic partnership with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer Exporters Association (BGMEA)  to reduce the skills gap of women in need in remote areas.

Ella Pad with the technical support of BGMEA is implementing the project Skills for Employment Investment Program (SEIP) funded by the Ministry of Finance/Govt of Bangladesh and the Asian Development Bank.

To empower underprivileged char women, the ELLA Pad-BGMEA-SEIP project has targeted 60 underprivileged women households to improve their livelihood and ensure sustainable income.  The organizer narrated their ambition of empowering women in addressing the upcoming 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). They also explained what they were doing to boost women makers to overcome their machine phobia and create confidence to be resilient.

‘Why are women getting victims of the 4th industrial revolution?’ pointed out the organizer. ‘Why are women’s percentages at garment factories decreasing fast from over 85% in 2015 to 65% in 2020?’ Women are victims of automation as they are lagging behind the technology. At the garment factories, 90% of operators are women while less than 1% are supervisors, let alone to think of production managers, general managers or CEO.

The vicious circle of low skills among women garment makers are perpetuating their poverty and inequality. During any crisis in the sector, women lost their job first. Ella Pad has taken some initiative in upskilling women to break the glass ceiling, the organizer added further.