INTRODUCTION: Bangladesh has remained one of the poorest countries in the world since becoming a nation in its own right ten years ago.
GV PAN Women working on dam project
CU Women digging earth and placing it in baskets (2 shots)
GV Women carrying baskets of earth along road (2 shots)
SV Woman tipping earth from basket
CU PAN Women relaxing and eating
CU Rice being washed
SV Women collecting bowls of rice and tipping into boiler (2 shots)
SV Women spreading rice to dry in sun (3 shots)
SV Women breaking up bitumen with metal tools (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Bangladesh has remained one of the poorest countries in the world since becoming a nation in its own right ten years ago. Now the government has implemented a campaign which is intended to tap a vast hitherto unexploited resources in its efforts to raise national production.
SYNOPSIS: The plan is to draft the women of the country into a huge new labour force. As is customary in Islamic countries, the women of Bangladesh have traditionally remained at home while the menfolk went out to work. But now women are being put to work building dams, harvesting rice and jute, and digging canals.
The campaign is being aided by the World Bank and other international agencies. Job Training centres have been set up all over the country to instruct women workers in sewing and knitting, and in making mattresses and jute carpets. With this programme the government of President Ziaur Rahman hopes to double the productive capacity of the country in the next five years.
A women's job training centre spokesman said that women can be expected to take over at least fifty per cent of jobs hitherto done by men.
As well as being one of the poorest countries in the world, Bangladesh is also one of the most densely populated. In its efforts to break out of the poverty cycle the government's two main aims are to limit population growth and to increase production.
The country needs to reduce its dependence on its main exports, jut, and to attain self-sufficiency in food production. So by allotting unskilled and manual work to the female labour force the government aims to release male workers from such jobs.
The idea is that they should be trained in more advanced technical skills, to build up the country's industrial base. Some western observers have hailed the scheme as a courageous attempt to break with social and religious traditions, despite the fact that as yet women have only been allocated to the more menial jobs.