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Gendered Situation Analysis in the Textile Sector of Pakistan
By: SDPI

Partner: ILO

Year: 2010.

Locale: Lahore, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hub, Hattar and Sialkot.

Team Members: Gulbaz Ali Khan

Introduction:

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is instrumental in achieving poverty alleviation and social and economic development goals. The International Labour Organization (ILO) is currently implementing a project, Promoting Gender Equality for Decent Employment. The project intends to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to inform, design and implement gender sensitive policies and programmes and create more gender equal employment in the textiles sector. This sector contributes 8.5 percent of Pakistan’s overall GDP and also accounts for more than 62% of total exports. Similarly 38% of total labor force is employed by this sector and within this women are increasingly contributing in the growth of this sector, mostly working as labor. However, gender dimensions of employment in the textiles sector were not explored.
Therefore, ILO planned to conduct a gendered situational analysis in consultation with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) as a lead organization and Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Training Institute (PRGTTI) as a partner organization to attain gender-aware baseline information upon which to base sector specific interventions.

Objectives:

  • To understand the gender dimensions of employment in textiles sector
  • To identify decent employment opportunities
  • To analyze training needs
  • To map and analyze stakeholders and institutions

Methodology:

The project is based on a Desk Review of secondary data and information, Focus Group Discussions, Key Informant Interviews, Case Studies and a Consultative Meeting. Both quantitative and qualitative tools are employed. To capture the gender perspective of the employment trends, employment opportunities, skills acquisition and training needs, Key Informant Interviews (KII’s)  are also conducted in the urban as well as rural regions.

Findings:

The study highlighted the gender dimensions of employment in the textile sector especially the fact that women are only employed for very few trades in the textile sector (such as stitching & quality assurance). Generally employers are biased against women employees and they are rarely offered permanent contracts. They are also deprived of paid maternity leave, functional day care centres among other facilities. It was also observed that career progression chances for women were higher in large textile units as compared to small and medium units. The study which was carried out in six districts of Pakistan also revealed that skill acquisition opportunities for women were very limited and often they were forced to work on selected limited trades.

Recommendations:

The study recommended the establishment of job placement centers under the relevant ministry to facilitate women’s placement in the textile sector through a formal channel. It was also recommended that the Ministry of Women Development should play an active role in ensuring that complaint redressal mechanisms were in place and functional. It was also suggested that the ministries of textile and commerce should introduce “We invest in decent employment opportunities for women” award for entrepreneurs to improve work conditions for women employees. The recommendations of the study are being shared with relevant policy making forums.