Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 30,
2018—Training female sewing operators increases supervisory roles
for women, in the readymade garments’ sector in Bangladesh, boosts productivity,
and reduces absenteeism, according to a University of Oxford evaluation
of a training program conducted by IFC, a
sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group.
In Bangladesh’s readymade garments’ sector,
though women make up 80 percent of the 4 million workforce, 95 percent
of the line supervisors are men. The Oxford University report, Cutting
through the Cloth Ceiling, shows that IFC’s Work-Progression
and Productivity Toolkit has helped redress
the gender imbalance
The study found that of the
144 women who attended the training, 92 were offered a promotion with an
increase in salary within weeks of completing it. About 60 percent of them
accepted the offer. Following the training,
the number of female supervisors in participating factories increased to
about 12 percent from the earlier 5 percent. The evaluation also found
an average efficiency increase of 5 percent, as well as a reduction of
absenteeism in lines supervised by trained women.
Wendy Werner, IFC Country Manager for Bangladesh,
Bhutan, and Nepal, said, “Research shows that training increases line
efficiency and benefits both the female supervisors and the factories that
promote them. If scaled-up in more factories, it has the potential to overturn
the industry’s blind spot when it comes to career progression opportunities
IFC’s training program consisted
of five days of classroom training in technical skills and four days of
training in soft skills, such as leadership and effective communications.
This was followed by eight weeks of on-the-job
training, alongside an experienced supervisor. Middle and upper-level managers
were also taught how to quantifiably assess skills and attitude of candidates
Supported by Japan’s Ministry
of Finance, IFC delivered the toolkit training in 28 garment factories,
in collaboration with Better Work Bangladesh. Additional funding was provided
by the World Bank-administered Let’s Work multi-donor trust fund.
“The training taught me how
to speak to people at different levels, how to behave as a professional,
how to keep track of my work and calculate production and efficiency in
an organized way,” said Popy Aktar, who is now a sewing line supervisor
at Sparrow Apparels Ltd.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in some of the most difficult areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered
a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries,
leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost
shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.