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Bangladesh: Breaking down barriers


Traditionally relegated to house chores, most rural women of Bangladesh have had very little access to economic activities outside their homes and they are often the poorest and most marginalized members of their communities.

Labour Contracting Societies (LCS) create a rare opportunity for hundreds of thousands of women in rural Bangladesh to earn cash income. Through this Government scheme, unemployed and destitute women receive training and contracts to conduct a variety of jobs which have been traditionally reserved to men, like building and maintaining roads, cyclone shelters, market places, and other essential community infrastructure.

IFAD is using this model for most of its development projects in the country, generating more than two million hours of employment for women per year.

Women account for 40 per cent of LCS members and their wages, hours of work and benefits are equal to those of their male colleagues. Most importantly, their work is giving them new roles and a higher status in their communities.