Stress on recognition of female workforce

Speakers at a dialogue on Monday observed that contribution of the country’s female workforce including housewives and housemaids should be given a formal recognition through calculating its share in the GDP. They said, “If we look at the government’s labour force survey, we see that the female labour force participation rate is 36%, which has been stagnant from 2010 while the male participation rate is above 80pc.”

Speakers revealed the information at a national dialogue styled ‘Recognition of Women’s Unaccounted Work in National GDP and Include in Gender Responsive Budgeting’ on Monday at BRAC Centre Inn at Mohakhali in the capital. South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) organised the dialogue.

Observing that the household care burden carried out by women should be duly recognised, speakers at the dialogue said contribution of the country’s female workforce including housewives and housemaids should be given a formal recognition through calculating its share in the GDP.

Though the acceptable methodology is yet unknown, they admitted. “The valuation of non-labour market household care work is important because we need to acknowledge the contribution of women’s unaccounted household works to dignify this contribution in a male dominated society,” they said.

“The reason why we came with this idea was to uphold her status in the family and in the society in increased at a record high last fiscal and continued, it is good news for us. Remittance inflow stood at $1.65 billion in October in 2019, up 33.13 percent from $1.23 billion in the same period of the previous year.

In the first four months of the current fiscal, this increased by almost 20 percent to $6.16 billion over that in the same period of the previous year. However, Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $11.65 billion in FY11, $12.84 billion in FY12, $14.46 billion in FY13, $14.23 billion in FY14, $15.31 billion in FY15, $14.93 billion in FY16, $12.77 billion in FY17 and $14.98 billion in FY18 respectively.
Earlier, the government and the Bangladesh Bank (BB) were worried over a sliding trend in remittance inflow during fiscal years 2015-17. However, the country has made a strong comeback in recent times, thanks to some good steps taken by the government, BB officials said.

“In FY 2018-19, Bangladesh received a record $16.4 billion remittances from about 12 million overseas workers. With the same number of people working abroad, the remittance can be over $100 billion, if only this young population is trained in new technologies,” said ADB country director Manmohan Parkash while addressing an event in the capital recently. Experts said, to push the remittance inflow further up, the government should focus on creating skilled manpower for the overseas job market. Lead Economist of World Bank, Dr Zahid Hussain, told Bangladesh Post, “The remittance has recently increased as local currency taka has depreciated against US dollar side by side oil price hike abroad.”

Hussain pointed out that Bangladeshi expatriate workers, who speak little English, have poor basic formal education and few vocational industry-specific skills, often face severe job insecurities. Hence, the government should immediately solve these problems and focus on boosting remittance flow which will help increase foreign exchange reserve.

The government should train up local workers as skilled labour before sending them abroad, Zahid said, adding that Bangladesh should build good relations with other countries for sending more skilled workers abroad, which will boost up remittance flow significantly.