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Sanem: 1% rise in women employment can cause 0.31% economic growth

  • Published at 01:22 pm August 29th, 2021
Workers inside an RMG factory
Workers inside an RMG factory SYED ZAKIR HOSSAIN

If Bangladesh can increase women employment by only 10 percentage points, it would result in an additional $11.3 billion in the economy

A 1% increase in women employment can effectively increase economic growth by 0.31%. 

If Bangladesh can increase women employment by only 10 percentage points, that will add as much as 3.1% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and such an increase would result in an additional $11.3 billion in the economy, keeping the 2021 figure of GDP in mind.

The findings came out in the latest study titled "Role of Women’s Economic Empowerment in Bangladesh Economy" by the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) and World Vision Bangladesh (WVB) on Sunday. 

Also Read - Sanem: Only 9% pandemic-hit companies report strong recovery

It followed the Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) to identify whether women’s economic participation has any long-term relationship with the GDP growth and the extent it. 

The study did not find any significant relationship between GDP growth and women or men’s employment in the short run. 

The study also mentioned that women’s contribution to the national economy is much lower than it could be due to their low participation in the labour market. 

But women make a significant contribution in nonmarket activities, such as household work and care for children and the elderly at home. 

Quoting a previous study on the topic, it further said: “To ensure inclusive growth in the economy, it is essential to ensure much greater participation of women in market-based productive activities.”

According to a 2016 study by Asian Development Bank (ADB), if the rate for women were raised to the same as for men, the labour force of Bangladesh would be increased by 43% and this would help bring about a 27% increase in GDP, even without any increase in the capital stock.

However, traditional gender norms and patriarchal values often restrict women’s mobility and constrain their activities in the labour market. 

Hence the level of women employment in the country has been lower than that for men as a result of both demand and supply-side issues.

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