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4 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Safety for women construction workers

A vast number men continue to be highly resistant to women’s paid employment

It is worrying to note that the women engaged in construction work in Bangladesh are deprived of professional safety, social security, reassessment of their wage structure, professional training and healthcare facilities.  Quoting a research study carried out on 134 construction workers most of whom were women, Nazma Yasmin of Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS) said women workers were affected by skin diseases, adding that 117 construction workers were suffering from different respiratory problems as 71.6 per cent of them were brick breakers.

In Bangladesh, women’s mobility is constrained and women have to negotiate with patriarchy for joining the male dominated labour market outside the home. A vast number of men continue to be highly resistant to women’s paid employment, partly because of the social norm of purdah and partly because they tend to consider it a shameful reflection on their ability as breadwinners, and hence on their masculine identity. While overcoming  these constraints, women enter into full-time paid job. However, the treatment of both men and women is not equal and this is particularly so in the construction sector. Thus, engaging in paid employment is not an easy decision to make and once women eventually join the labour force they experience mixed outcomes.

 Women constitute half of the total population of Bangladesh. They have made significant contributions to various sectors of the country during the last few decades. Despite all these, how much freedom and rights do they enjoy in a patriarchal and male-dominated society? How many women are conscious about their reproductive and sexual health? Discrimination and deprivation still stare them in the face.    Malnutrition is squeezing their life force.  Age-old superstition, ignorance, taboos and shyness dissuade many women from discussing their heath-related problems openly. Many women are suffering from complications due to absence of maintenance of menstrual hygiene.  

Scores of women are still suffering due to violence perpetrated on them by their male counterparts. Gender discrimination has bedeviled many a woman. Vast womenfolk in rural areas are still leading sub-human life due to abysmal poverty, illiteracy, curse of early marriage, pangs of premature motherhood and dowry. Deserted by husbands, many hapless women have to earn for survival. In many cases fair wages and remunerations elude them. It is the responsibility of the authorities concerned for ensuring proper wages for them. The government should ensure healthcare centre, workplace safety, housing, working environment, pension scheme and rationing, minimum wage for women workers.  

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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