Chapter 3: A Comparative Study of EEO In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
Faiza Ali Introduction International macroeconomic data suggest that women’s employment rate in countries in South Asia is one of the lowest in the world, ranging from 19 to 26 per cent (MHHDC, 2003; HDR, 2008). Although women’s participation in economic activities is gradually increasing in all countries in South Asia, women’s employment in formal organisations remains very low (MHHDC, 2000; World Development Report, 2007). In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, women account for between 19 and 25 per cent of workers in the formal sector. The majority of workers in the formal sector are concentrated in unskilled and low-paid work in industrial and service sectors (HDR, 2008). In the last two decades, countries in South Asia have introduced several economic and legal reforms related to equal employment opportunity (EEO). However, the impact of such reforms on female employment remains less than satisfactory, generally representing an empty-shell or toothless tiger construction of EEO (Hoque and Noon, 2004; Ali and Knox, 2008). The aim of this chapter is to explore key features of EEO for women in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, reviewing and comparing EEO for women from three different angles: macroeconomic data on female employment, EEO laws and institutions, and organisational policies of EEO in the three countries. The next section presents macroeconomic data on female employment. Macroeconomic data on female employment Although the female economic activity rate is gradually increasing in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, women still account for a small percentage of employees in public and private sector organisations, representing...
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