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In early 2023 Oxfam was grateful to have the opportunity to meet with the women who make our clothes and listen to their stories.

With a population of 166.3 million (as of 2021) the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Despite being the second largest economy in South Asia, nearly a quarter of Bangladesh’s population (24.3%) live below the national poverty line.

Textile workers on their way to home during lunch break. Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam
Textile workers on their way to home during lunch break. Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

Bangladesh’s economy has seen rapid growth in recent years, with exports of textiles being a primary contributor to this growth. In fact, clothing and textile production is the biggest export industry in Bangladesh, accounting for 85% of all export revenues.  

Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of Ready-Made Garments (RMG) in the world, after China. The garment industry’s annual revenue is about $34 billion (2019) or 11% of the country’s GDP. It employs 4.4 million people in Bangladesh, 80% of whom are women. 

During our trip in Bangladesh, we meet with many wonderful women who welcomed us into their home and told us their story. We were privileged to be able to meet them, their family and their community.  

We also visited a factory to further our understanding of the manufacturing process and we met with local activist to learn more about their journey.  

Textile workers are working inside a garment factory in Savar. Bangladesh. Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam
Kalpona Akter at her office. She is a labour activist from Bangladesh. She is the founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity. Photo: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam

The trip was a success and we have started sharing these stories on our website. Click this link to read the story of Rumi and Ajirun.  

We look forward to sharing all the stories of the women who make our clothes. We encourage you to watch this space.  

Be ready to work in solidarity with the women who make our clothes and call on big brands to pay them a living wage.  

Our appreciation goes to the women who agreed to tell us their stories, helping us shed light on the conditions in Dhaka’s garment industry. We stand alongside each of them, working to ensure living wages are paid and everyone can live a life of dignity. 

Together, we’re tackling poverty in the fashion industry

Stand with the women who make our clothes. Add your name to demand big brands pay a living wage.