Hannah Uckat (Department of Economics, University of Oxford)
World Bank

Advancing female working onto management in the Bangladeshi garment sector: The Work-progression & Productivity Toolkit

We work with the ILO/IFC Better Work program to develop a program to train female sewing machine operators to be line supervisors, the entry-level management position. Roughly four in five operators, but only 1 in 20 supervisors, are female. The project implements an RCT to test the relative importance of training in hard skills and training soft skills as preparation for management roles.

Previous work shows that female operators selected as supervisory candidates by factories have significantly lower levels of confidence in their ability to perform as supervisors. The soft skills training will focus on leadership and confidence-building. Factory employees from top management down to production workers believe that females have weaker technical skills, though our diagnostics indicated this was not the case. The work builds on previous projects on this issue, and has the goal of developing a scalable module which can be offered as a part of the Better Work program.