Women Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh

September 27, 2012 by Mahbubur Rahman Shawon  
Published in Women

Women Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and situation.

Bangladesh, located in Southern Asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India, is one of the least developed and most densely populated countries in the world. Existing gender ratio in demographic structure of the country indicates that women comprise almost 50% of its total population, of whom >80% live in rural areas. Most of the women in rural Bangladesh treated as vulnerable and the poorest of the rural poor. In such a context, women must be involved in income-generating activities to promote economic growth and social transformation; otherwise, no development approach can get its real shape.

Bangladesh is still a poor country, but it is rich in HR sector. Women make nearly half of the population, means huge potential to be utilized for socio -economic development of the country.

Bangladesh have been focusing attention on the most disadvantaged group in the society – the women. Realization has gradually dawned on all concerned that a society cannot afford to waste half of its human resources by discrimination on grounds of sex.

The majority of women are underprivileged, under nourished, illiterate and poor. According to the 1999/00 labor force survey (LFS), the labor force of Bangladesh was estimated at 60 million, more than 20 million being women. There are not enough employment opportunities for women. Therefore, economic activities, through self-entrepreneurship or “women in business” are a very recent phenomenon in Bangladesh. Although women are taking to entrepreneurship in many challenging fields, their activities in Bangladesh are not that extensive. In spite of fewer opportunities, many women have succeeded in business, but they are still very small in number. Before 1985, Bangladesh had very few women entrepreneurs. Another study also shows that the number of women entrepreneurs is around 3000, representing only 2% of the total entrepreneurs in the country. In fact women entrepreneurship started developing in Bangladesh after the liberation. Very few women entered the profession of business before the nineteen hundred seventies.

Ten years ago, a majority of the women workers in Bangladesh worked in the informal sector. They were mostly unpaid and did not contribute directly to formal economic activities. However, the demographic structure of the labor participation in Bangladesh is witnessing a remarkable change. An increasing number of women are working in the formal sector as entrepreneurs and paid workers, a situation that was not seen in the past. This gradual transformation of women’s participation from the informal to the formal sectors has resulted in an upward mobility in the social and economic status of women, especially that of poor women in the country.

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