No. 12 The Gender Imbalances in the Export Oriented Garment Industry in Bangladesh
By Pratima Paul-Majumder and Anwara Begum

In Bangladesh, women’s employment in export-oriented industry has narrowed the gender gap in many spheres including participation in labor force, social prestige, control over income and decision making.  At the same time there is widespread occupational segregation and gender discrimination in wage rates.
The study uses survey data from 1990, 1993 and 1997 to evaluate how the employment of women in export-oriented industries exploits the “comparative advantages of their disadvantages.”  It evaluates gender differences in conditions of employment and the work environment, and looks at differences among export-oriented garment industry, other export industries, and nonexport industries. The authors recommend policy measures for eliminating the gender imbalances arising from women’s employment in export-oriented garment industries.


This paper is part of a series of papers on selected topics commissioned for the forthcoming Policy Research Report(PRR) on Gender and Development. The PRR is being carried out by Elizabeth King and Andrew Mason and co-sponsored by the World Bank’s Development Economics Research Group and the Gender and Development Group of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network. Printed copies of this paper are available free from the World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433. Please contact Owen Haaga, in room MC8-434 or at Comments are welcome and should be sent directly to the author(s) at

The full-length paper is available in PDF format.