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Title: All stitched up? : labour process regimes and patriarchal relations amongst female garment workers in Bangladesh
Author: Mawa, Bentul
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 2017
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis focuses on the experiences of female workers in the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh, analysing how a range of factors, including government regulation, the power of multinational corporations, employment practices, and cultural norms and values, impact on the lives of these women, in the workplace and beyond. A comparative case-study approach using theoretical concepts relating to the global value chain, labour process, and patriarchy has been used to understand the complex interconnections between women’s experiences in the workplace, the home and broader society. The nature of these experiences is also compared and contrasted across Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and non-EPZ factories. Contrary to some previous study findings, a detailed comparative analysis of terms and conditions in EPZ and non-EPZ factories indicated that the former were better, reflecting the co-operative, less patriarchal character of the factory control regime and better position in the supply chain. The experience of women in the workplace had impact on the use of their agency, for example, EPZ women engaged in work effort bargaining through collective organisation (Worker Welfare Association), whereas non-EPZ women were likely to react and resist, either individually or collectively to improve their working conditions. Across all the factories, women’s workplace experiences of agency and resistance also had an impact beyond the factory. In the domestic sphere, when combined with other factors such as educational level and marital status, work can also play a powerful emancipatory role, affording some groups of women ("Progressive" and "Independent" group) a greater degree of empowerment in gender relations and financial autonomy. At societal level, regardless of educational and marital status, the workplace experiences of female workers appears to bring increased self-esteem and confidence, economic security and a degree of personal independence, and greater awareness of life options, indicating the role which work can play in empowering women within Bangladeshi society. The experience of work in Bangladesh’s RMG factories does have the ability to play an emancipatory role for women, but the degree of empowerment they experience is dependent on their level of education, marital status, the position of the firms within the global value chain, the labour process regime in operation and the degree of patriarchal control exerted at the workplace and beyond.
Supervisor: Gardiner, Jean ; Vincent, Steve ; Hardy, Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available