Gender (In)Equality in the Bangladeshi Readymade Garment Sector: A Systematic Review
Published in International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal, Volume 13, Issue 3, year 2019
40 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2020
Date Written: September 17, 2020
This article is a literature review in which a comprehensive understanding is developed of the multiple and contemporary facets of the problem of gender inequality in international supply chains of ready-made garments (RMG). The main focus of the study is on the RMG manufacturing sector in Bangladesh, since this sector represents a hub in international RMG supply chains. The issue of gender inequality in the RMG sector represents a main concern of NGOs, the OECD, the ILO, national governments, international buyers and brands, and other stakeholders. Using a structured literature review method, literature is selected from various international academic sources in a systemic way. The selected literature is analysed by employing Lessig’s analytical framework, developed as the New Chicago School. The authors apply this framework to identify which forces and constraints influence the situation of gender inequality in the Bangladeshi garment sector. The influencing factors are organised in the four categories acknowledged by Lessig: law, cultural norms, market and architecture. Through this lens of a regulatory ecology approach, various types of constraints are identified that need to be addressed in order to solve the issue of gender inequality in the RMG industry in Bangladesh. In addition,the Capabilities Theory of Martha Nussbaum provides a basis for the discussion on how to improve the situation of female garment workers in Bangladesh. Accordingly, this research contributes to a holistic and institutional understanding of the options of how to improve the status of gender equality in the Bangladeshi RMG sector. The options discussed cover legal, regulatory and semi-legal instruments and market behaviour of local RMG companies, international buyers and brands, NGOs and unions.
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