Bangladesh Is Ahead Of India And Pakistan In Female Labor Participation2 min read

In the vibrant tapestry of South Asia’s labor markets, Bangladesh stands out for its remarkable strides in enhancing female labor participation, outshining regional giants India and Pakistan. This progress reflects a broader narrative of socio-economic transformation and gender inclusivity within the nation.

The heartening figures, as reported by the World Bank for 2023, place Bangladesh at the growing stage in terms of female workforce integration in the region. However, despite these advances, the journey towards achieving full gender parity in the labor force is far from over.

Bangladesh is significantly ahead of its South Asian peers, India and Pakistan, in terms of female labor participation. According to World Bank data, female labor participation as a percentage of the total labor force in Bangladesh was 32.4% in 2023, compared to 28.7% in India and 23.2% in Pakistan.


The increase in female labor participation is primarily attributed to the expansion of the RMG (Ready-Made Garment) industry in the country. The RMG industry, being labor-intensive, employs a large female workforce, leading to a continual rise in the percentage of female labor participation. While this is a positive indicator for the country, Bangladesh still has a considerable journey ahead. In terms of overall ranking, Bangladesh is positioned at 164th globally and holds the 4th position among South Asian nations, with Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka leading in this metric.


To further enhance female labor participation, the government needs to shift its focus towards other industries and white-collar jobs. A recent article in Prothom Alo highlighted that only 16.37% of employees in the banking sector are women. In 2023, there were only 33,346 female employees in the banking sector compared to 170,350 male employees. The female workforce in the banking sector slightly increased from 16.29% in 2022.

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According to Bangladesh Bank, female representation is 17.04% at the entry-level, 15.79% at intermediate levels, and 9.36% at higher levels. Therefore, it is crucial to initiate efforts to increase female representation in other industries and white-collar jobs.

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