Training female sewing operators has increased the opportunity of supervisory roles for women, boosting productivity in the readymade garment sector and reducing absenteeism, according to a University of Oxford evaluation report of a training programme run by International Finance Corporation, a World Bank arm.
IFC’s Work-Progression and Productivity Toolkit helped redress the gender imbalance on sewing lines where about 19 of every 20 line supervisors are men — despite women making up 80 per cent of production-line employees, the report titled Cutting through the Cloth Ceiling showed.
The number of female supervisors in the participating factories increased after getting the training to an average of about 12 per cent from five per cent, according to the report.
The evaluation also found that trained female supervisors worked more efficiently, reducing absenteeism in lines.
IFC Bangladesh country manager Wendy Werner said, ‘If the training scales up in more factories, it has the potential to overturn the industry’s blind spot when it comes to career progression opportunities for women.’
The garment sector in Bangladesh provides formal employment opportunities for over 4 million low-skilled workers, 60 per cent of whom are women.
IFC, supported by Japan’s finance ministry, 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 programme consisted of five days of classroom training in the technical skills and four days of soft skills on leadership and communications skills.
Middle- and upper-level managers also received training on how to quantifiably assess the skills and attitude of candidates for promotion.
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