Breaking the barriers

Many people with disabilities face major barriers to social inclusion in their communities. Many are not able to access mainstream training or decent education and this leads to significantly decreased employment opportunities. This publication looks at how the ILO is equipping women with disabilities with the technical skills to work in the rapidly expanding ready made garments industry in Bangladesh.

Approximately 4.5 million workers are employed in the textiles and clothing industry in Bangladesh, of which around 80% are women. The success of the export-oriented clothing industry relies on quality, price, lead-time and reliability, which means huge opportunities for disabled women, who are widely considered to retain their jobs for longer periods of time and work hard in their positions.

In pursuit of improving opportunities for persons with disabilities, the ILO is working on methodologies for enabling access of underprivileged groups to technical and vocational training courses in Bangladesh. This pilot course is an important step in encouraging employers to consider the rights of disabled persons, and to see their potential value as skilled workers.