Women’s rights in the shadow of the corporate veil : the gendered face of discrimination in Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry

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Muñoz Cano, Paula
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The Bangladeshi garment sector is characterised by a complex interplay between affordable fashion, multinational profits, and the exploitation of mostly female garment workers. Deeply entrenched gender inequalities in Bangladeshi society permeate work contexts, leading to discriminatory practices such as wage disparities, exploitative working conditions and incidents of violence. These practices have contributed to a significant decline in the number of women employed in the sector through voluntary departures. This alarming trend highlights the unsustainable nature of labour practices that hinder women's empowerment and economic stability, perpetuating a cycle that limits their access to secure employment opportunities. While initiatives such as corporate self-regulation, corporate social responsibility initiatives and human rights frameworks have been proposed, their effectiveness in eliminating discriminatory practices remains uncertain. Given the evolving political landscape regarding the possible development of a binding instrument for companies to hold them accountable for violations in global value chains, it is important to scrutinise the effectiveness of these efforts and the extent to which they actually prioritise workers' rights over economic interests. Accordingly, this study's main objective is to comprehensively explore the various dimensions that require careful consideration to facilitate a substantial transformation to address the pervasive problem of gender-based employment discrimination in garment value chains.
Second semester University: New University of Lisbon
Bangladesh, discrimination in employment, gender discrimination, women rights, corporate responsibility, human rights, social responsibility