Participation of women in the non-agricultural sector: Bangladesh is better off than India and Pakistan

File photo: Most private hostels for single women who work in Dhaka city have been forced to close during the lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic Syed Zakir Hossain / Dhaka Tribune

In Bangladesh’s non-agricultural sector, 20.7% of employees are women

Among the three countries with relatively large economies and populations in South Asia, more women are in non-farm jobs in Bangladesh than in India and Pakistan, according to a latest report.

The 2020 Human Development Report titled “The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene” by the United Nations Development Program released around the world six days ago and in Bangladesh on Monday morning, drew up the rankings.

The Life Course Gender Gap data in the report shows that 20.7% of employees in this sector are women in Bangladesh, while the share is 15.9% in India and 11% in Pakistan.

According to the Gender Development Index, the estimated gross national income per capita (in purchasing power parity – PPP, in theory, 1 dollar PPP has the same purchasing power in a country’s national economy as $ 1 (USD) in the US economy), is $ 2,873 PPP for Bangladeshi employees and $ 2,331 PPP for Indian employees. The income of Pakistani employees is $ 1,393 PPP.

Ironically, the presence of women in middle and senior management is lower in Bangladesh than in India. According to the women’s empowerment data in the report, around 11.5% of people are women at the middle or higher level in Bangladesh, compared to 13.7% in India.

Only 4.2% of jobs are held by women in Pakistan.

The same scenario could be found in the case of women with accounts at financial institutes or mobile money service providers. This indicates how many women have been empowered in a family and are granted the right to spend money.

In Bangladesh, 35.8% of women have at least one such account compared to 76.6% in India, more than double that of Bangladesh. Only 7% of Pakistani women enjoy the right.

UNDP warns that multidimensional poverty will turn into crisis if no inclusive action is taken soon.

According to a 2019 report, 24.6% of the population of Bangladesh was multidimensionally poor, with an additional 18.2% classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

In India, 27.9% of their population were multidimensionally poor, and an additional 19.3% were classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

The situation is much worse in Pakistan. In the country, 38.3% of the population was multidimensionally poor, with an additional 12.9% classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty.

Again, the report mentioned that the value of Bangladesh’s 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) decreases by 24.4% when discounted based on inequality in HDI dimensions. India’s HDI decreases by 26.4% for inequalities and losses rise to 31.1% for Pakistan.

The HDI value for women is 10% lower than for men (for Nepal this difference is about 7%; for Pakistan, significantly higher, about 25%).

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