News Desk : dhakamirror.com
In accordance with the Unicef-led Mothers@Work initiative, factories will receive assistance to provide breastfeeding spaces and breaks, childcare facilities, paid maternity leave, cash benefits, healthcare, employment protection, and a safe work environment for working mothers and pregnant women.
Unicef, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), under the Mothers@Work initiative led by Unicef, will assist factories for acheiving this.
Evidence supports the notion that paid time off, encouragement to breastfeed, and antenatal care promote gender equality, worker productivity, and long-term economic growth in addition to healthier children and happier families.
The garment sector in Bangladesh, which accounts for around 11% of the nation’s GDP, is the second-largest exporter of clothes worldwide.
A 2018 Unicef survey found that while breastfeeding is essential for children’s health and development, there are gaps in the availability of breaks and private areas for this activity.
Among the almost 40 lakh workers employed in garment factories of which half of them being women of reproductive age.
“Providing targeted support for women in the workforce and ensuring women can earn a living, while also having the needed support to care for their children, is critical for women and their children and Is an Investment that benefits all,” sald Mr Sheldon Yett, Unicef representative to Bangladesh.
This collaboration will enhance working conditions for 130,000 women, offer improved nutrition services, and provide daycare facilities for 8,000 children, building on lessons learnt from a Unicef pilot project.
The program will first target 80 factories, with a goal of eventually reaching more than 4,000 industries in Bangladesh.
“It is imperative to keep the workplace safe and welcoming for mothers and pregnant women working in garment factories to protect their well-being and ensure that their children receive key nutrients necessary to support a baby’s healthy development,” said Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA.
“We commit to building a conducive work environment for mothers in our knitwear sector, for the benefit of our workers, and their children who are the future of our nation and for our businesses,” said Mr Salim Osman, president of BKMEA.
For the purpose of sustaining and expanding the Mothers@Work program, Unicef is also collaborating with the government.