More women join labour force as men go abroad

- binod bhandari, Biratnagar

Oct 14, 2014-

Factories based in the Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor have become increasingly dependent on women workers with more and more men migrating abroad for employment, the Industries’ Association, Morang said.

An estimated 20,000 women are employed in 500 factories in the industrial area, which is one of the main manufacturing hubs in the country.

“Women have now emerged as the main workforce which was unthinkable until a few years ago,” said Shiva Shankar Agrawal, president of the Industries’ Association, Morang. “We would not be able to run the factories without recruiting women.”

Agrawal said 30-40 percent of the men workers in each factory had gone abroad. “Almost all the firms related with spinning, biscuits, chow mein, soap, footwear, multi-fibre and jute have been relying on women workers,” he said.

With an increase in female participation, factory owners have also been increasing the facilities being provided to them like long-term job guarantee and personal security.

Arihant Multi-Fibres in Sunsari is an example of the plants providing special facilities to women. The company offers health care, pick-up and drop-off services besides residential facilities to needy workers.

Jute mills also employ a large number of women workers. An estimated 70 percent of the workers in seven jute mills operating here are female.  Jute Industries’ Association President Raj Kumar Golchha said they were unable to find men to work at the mills. “It is worth mentioning that almost all the jute mills would face closure without women workers,” said Golchha, adding that the workers were ready to work only if transportation was provided to them.   After the jute factories started providing home transport service, workers have even become willing to work at odd hours like late in the evening. The jute mills are mostly located in Katahari, Mills Area and Hattimudha of Morang district and Duhabi and Sonapur of Sunsari district. The jute mills employ around 15,000 workers some of whom are reported to come from distant places.

Besides jute mills, other factories have also been recruiting a reasonable number of female workers.

Reliance Spinning employs more than 1,200 women workers. Jeevan Budhathoki, a time in-charge, said the number of women surged mainly in the last five years when migration of men to foreign lands soared.

“At present, the recruitment rate of women is almost double that of men,” Budhathoki said. According to him, the number of women workers is almost equal to that of men.  

Similarly, half of the 400 workers at Quality Biscuit of Duhabi are women. The company’s manager Nawal Kishor Kawara said the efficiency of women was almost the same as that of men.

Published: 15-10-2014 09:27

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