24 April 2017 marks the 4th Anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy that happened near the Bangladesh capital Dhaka. On 24 April 2013, 1045 workers died when their poorly constructed factory collapsed. Many of the workers were women.
This terrible incident opened the eyes of many people to the unethical business practices international companies allow to gain significant profits. As of 2013, approximately 4 million people, the vast majority of which are women and girls, are working in the Bangladesh garment industry in unsafe conditions to sustain their families.
The garment industry in the country is a multimillion dollar enterprise but the salaries are extremely low. The social unrest is boosted by the imparity of pay between male and female workers.
This inequality presents a significant issue in different countries around the world. Chidi King, Director of the Equality Department of International Trade Union Confederation, speaks about the challenges which the women face in many countries, especially in the so-called informal economy – mostly in the textile and garment industry.
Under constant threat of losing their jobs, many women are working in poor and unsafe conditions, trying to eke out a living for their families. Women often work in extremely physically demanding positions, tackling tasks beyond their physical capabilities. Often the women don’t have any social protection and lack adequate measures to meet their family needs.
The problem must be considered in broader terms and take into account the general distribution of the responsibilities and the roles in the families. Ms. King highlights the importance of taking comprehensive measures against the discrimination of the women and for the prevention of growing impoverishment among older women.
The issue of the inequality between men and women’s wages is a subject of discussion of different international organizations. Various reports have addressed the importance of public discussion for finding the proper solution to the unfair treatment of the women in the industrial sectors.