Women at Work in Asia: A garment worker organiser in Bangladesh

Women at Work in Asia: A garment worker organiser in Bangladesh


I am Shermin Shanta, Organizing Secretary of Federation of Garments Workers (FGW). I have been working with the trade union for 5 years, and I am working with Labour At Informal Economy (LIE) too. Recently I have been doing research work with 10 garments factories. The problems identified by women workers are mainly wages and not being able to get maternity benefits. I have the opportunity to work on follow-up program of LIE, because of these programs I received very positive outcomes. This follow up training is a platform for women workers. During the follow-up program they have been able to share their opinions and experiences. They are very keen to participate in training programs. Through training they have the courage to open their mouth and ask for help, and advise women activists. They want to improve their leadership skills within themselves. Compared to other sectors, the situation in the garment industry is better, but women from other sectors don’t come forward out of fear. But training program helps them to increase their confidence. And by setting up a strong union they will be able to fight for their rights. We are organizers from different sectors so it would be helpful if any regular follow-up or refresher training could be arranged for us So that we can share our achievements, learning or difficulties, we need regular training. Through follow-up trainings we will learn also the progress, how to move forward, and plan in the context of the reality that we face regularly. How do you see the future of women and women’s rights in Bangladesh? I want to see the development of women’s leadership. Compared to 5-10 years ago, more women are now taking part in the union activities but we are not seeing as much women leaders as we want. Now slowly and steadily women are advancing. They are happy to lead women members in solving their problems. Nothing will stop them or take them backward. I hope that in near future women will reach to their desired goals.

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