DHAKA, March 28 (BSS) -Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has become one of the top three winners of IFC's annual CEO Gender Award for a project that promotes the cause of nearly 200,000 women in factories.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has been financing the project, first of its kind, in order to address gender issues within the special economic zones where women make up two-thirds of total workforce, says a press release issued today.
Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund, which is managed by IFC in partnership with the UK Department for International Development and the European Union, is supporting the BEPZA project.
"Women's economic empowerment is vital if a special economic zone is to become an agent for long-term sustainable growth," said A.K.M. Mahbubur Rahman, BEPZA Member.
The IFC authority has identified best global gender initiatives in eight countries, including both government and company policies. The Authority is now implementing similar initiatives in a pilot program at three levels: workers, managers and entrepreneurs.
The project provides zone factories with incentives to fast- track women's career development opportunities.
"Implementing the gender programme in export processing zones is important as zones serve as models for best practices to be replicated elsewhere," said Paramita Dasgupta, who leads IFC South Asia Investment Climate work.
"The gender work in zones is particularly focused on improved and equal opportunities for women in zones."
Special economic zones account for one per cent (1%) of total global employment, and by moving Bangladeshi zones toward gender- inclusive employment policies, the project has the potential to change the lives of many women and their societies.