Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

‘60pc returnee women workers unemployed’

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 28 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Around 60 per cent of expatriate women workers who have returned to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic are still unemployed, according to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS).

BILS disseminated the findings of the study at a press conference on Monday.

The study was conducted based on the information collected from 323 returnee expatriate women workers in four upazilas--- one each in Jashore, Faridpur and Chattogram from July to December last year.

BILS executive council member Shakil Akhter Chowdhury, Md Abdul Wahed, Pulok Ranjan Dhar, BILS director Nazma Yasmeen, Deputy Director MA Majid and Monirul Islam responded to different questions of journalists at the press conference.

According to the study, the socio-economic status of one in three women has deteriorated. Some 23 per cent of the women workers returned to the country before one year of work, 18 per cent of women workers returned after spending one year and 55 per cent of them were forced to return.

The study has found that apart from 60 per cent unemployed returnee expatriate women workers, 65 per cent of them do not have regular monthly income, 61 per cent of women workers are still struggling to repay their debts, 75 per cent of them have no savings and 73 per cent of them are failing to meet the daily needs of their families.

Some 57 per cent of these returnee expatriate women workers have said they are concerned about their future while 85 per cent are frustrated about their present work.

Around 200 to 300 women workers return to the country every month, BILS said.

Thirty-eight per cent of the women surveyed complained that they had been physically abused abroad. Fifty-two per cent of the respondents said they had been forced to work, 61 per cent had struggled for food and water and 7 per cent were sexually abused. In addition, one per cent of women workers have been imprisoned abroad.

Among the returnee expatriate women workers, 55 per cent are physically ill, 29 per cent of them are suffering from mental health issues and 87 per cent of them have not received any treatment since their return.

According to the study, most of the returnee expatriate women workers have faced negligence from their family members following their return to the country as many of them decided to go abroad on their own.

Some 17 per cent of these workers had become the victims of the cruel behaviour of their family members at the airport immediately after their arrival while 15 per cent of women workers were divorced by their husbands.

Moreover, husbands of 11 per cent of women have left them and 28 per cent have faced adverse behaviour in their conjugal life.

BILS leaders have said that initiatives should be taken for the economic and social rehabilitation of the returnee expatriate women workers. There is should be a database and continuous review of their situation, they said.

Shakil Akhter Chowdhury, a member of BILS executive council, said proper information and training are not provided before sending women workers abroad. “That is why there is no coordination between their expectations and the benefits they receive in other countries.”

They also recommended ensuring social safety for the returnee expatriate women workers, providing them skill development training and employment opportunities, offering loans on easy terms and business suggestions, ensuring their mental and physical treatment, creating awareness and formulating a policy to safeguard the women migrant workers.