Together, we’re building an inclusive, equitable environment: EU Ambassador

UNB || Shining BD

Published: 2/15/2024 6:14:33 AM

In a move to unite leading businesses and spur greater action on women’s employment across industries in the private sector, a flagship network ‘Partnership for Women’s Employment: The Business of Equity,’ was launched on Wednesday.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), in partnership with European Union funded program Accelerating Climate Smart & Inclusive Infrastructure in South Asia (ACSIIS), and the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), launched the program.

The two-year partnership will act as a catalyst for economic growth and inclusion, helping empower women across Bangladesh.

Women comprise one-third of the country’s workforce, with only 4 percent of businesses having women in top management.

Care responsibilities, access to jobs, mobility limitations, and social norms are key barriers to women’s economic participation. Closing these gender gaps can add up to $30 billion to Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“The business case for increasing women’s participation in the workforce is irrefutable. Inclusive businesses have better financial performance, talent retention, reputation, and investor confidence,” said Zareen Tasnim, Program Lead, Partnership for Women’s Employment, IFC, Bangladesh.

“This partnership – a first of its kind in Bangladesh – will help equip businesses with practical knowhow on closing corporate gender gaps while contributing to companies’ bottom line, productivity, and growth, leading the way for a thriving private-sector anchored in equity and inclusion.”

Global research indicates that women’s economic participation in the private sector yields better financial results, greater innovation, and push for improved company culture.

For instance, companies with gender diverse boards generate over 50 percent higher return on equity and over 65 percent higher return on investment.

This initiative will also focus on creating a respectful and supportive workplace, particularly for working parents, and increasing women's presence in the green economy, aligning with Bangladesh’s focus on climate sustainability and a just transition.

“The European Union is dedicated to advancing gender equality, promoting women’s economic empowerment and opportunities for women and together, we are building an inclusive and equitable environment for all,” said Charles Whiteley, Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation to Bangladesh.

“The Partnership for Women’s Employment aims to boost women‘s participation by fostering their advancement and retention and engage in actively dismantling gender-specific economic barriers by cultivating respectful workplaces.”

Leading companies including Akib Bashir Group, Bata Bangladesh, BRAC Bank, City Bank, DBL Group, Eastern Bank, Energypac Electronics, Fakir Knitwears, IDCOL, IPDC, Mutual Trust Bank, PRAN Group, Prime Bank, Singer, Standard Group and Urmi Group, with a combined workforce of over 149,000 employees have already joined the partnership. Participating businesses range from financial services, fast-moving consumer goods, electronics, agribusiness, to textile and apparels.

“The Partnership for Women’s Employment will foster commitment, mutual learning and action by the companies around a variety of employer-supported strategies, policies and practices to boost women's participation in Bangladesh’s private sector,” said Kamran T. Rahman, President of MCCI.

“This will present an opportunity to build on the country’s growth and success story and unlock the immense potential of women in the workforce, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.”

IFC works to reduce gaps between men and women in the private sector, enabling companies and economies to improve their performance.

Various IFC initiatives across the globe – including in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands – on investing in women’s employment opportunities have proven to be an effective business strategy.

To join the Partnership for Women’s Employment, they need to apply before February 27, 2024.

Shining BD