Name of Donor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 
Project Duration: April 2014 – November 2017
Principal Investigator Naila Kabeer, Professor, LSE
Research Team: Simeen Mahmud, Lopita Huq, Sadia Mustafa, Kabita Chowdhury, Saiful Islam, Sanjida Parvin, Sufia Khatun , Mohammad Hossen Khan, Saklain Al Mamun
Cluster: Gender Cluster

The research will address the following overarching question under the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research (2012-13): what approaches are most effective in enabling the poorest to exit and stay out of poverty and under what conditions can such approaches be replicated elsewhere and at what scale? It will also have a strong focus on two cross-cutting issues: the intersection between class, gender and spatial inequality in explaining labour market segmentation; and methodological innovation through the iterative combination of a purposively designed panel data set with qualitative data so as to maximize the value-added by each method.

The overall aim of the project is to carry out detailed empirical research into the gender dynamics of the labour market in Bangladesh as an example of such a context. South Asia generally reports some of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world, despite positive though varying rates of economic growth in recent decades. It is also a region where many of the human dimensions of poverty, particularly their gender dimensions, are much lower than warranted by prevailing growth rates (Mehrotra, 2006). Bangladesh represents a promising context in which to explore these puzzling outcomes because it combines a modest but steady rate of growth, remarkable progress on certain aspects of gender equality but a slow pace of change on women’s participation in paid work. While our research will be confined to Bangladesh, our attention to variations in the wider context, including variations in local policy regimes, suggests our findings will provide policy lessons relevant elsewhere in South Asia. The study is led by the London School of Economics (LSE) .Taking into account the constraints on women's labour market, the project will elaborate short-term and long-term policy recommendations.

This research uses quantitative survey data and qualitative data in order to carry out detailed empirical investigation into the interaction between individual choice and structural constraint, including cultural norms and values, which shape labour market outcomes in Bangladesh.  In two phase of the project data have collected from eight different districts of Bangladesh. In qualitative part have done key informant interviews, in two phase total sixteenth Focus group discussions with men and women, forty case studies with men in second phase and eighty case studies with women in first phase who are again interviewed in second phase. In quantittative part survey data are collected from five thousand one hundred and ninety eight female and two thousand six hundred and nineteen male respondents of eight districts in Bangladesh. 
Project Duration: 2014-2017
Funding: ESRC/DFID joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research
Principal Investigator: Prof. Wendy Olsen, University of Manchester, UK

Cooperation partners:

Dr. Daniel Neff, GIGA Institute of Asian Studies
Prof. Amaresh Dubey, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
Prof. Kunal Sen, University of Manchester, UK

Research Team:
Simeen Mahmud, CGST, BIGD, BRAC University, Bangladesh; Dr. Sohela Nazneen, CGST, BIGD, BRAC University, Bangladesh; Maheen Sultan, CGST, BIGD, BRAC University; Saima Huq Bidisha, Sadia Mustafa, Kabita Chowdhury, Saiful Islam, Sahida Khondaker, Bayazid Hasan

Cluster: Gender Studies

The project has focused on women's well-being as related to their attitudes and their work. It has two branches and involves research in two geographic areas, rural Bangladesh and rural low-income parts of India. The first part is to use secondary data to look at changing attitudes and women's labour-force involvement over two decades. For the second part the team collected primary survey data at household, personal and village level and at two points in time within one year, to allow for male-female wage differentials to be examined over a small seasonal panel. The project objective is to analyze cultural, religious and social effect in the labour market participation.  In Bangladesh part, in the two stages of the project management, survey data have been collected from 500 households of 9 villages in both the north and south districts of Bangladesh. Detail qualitative data have been collected by interviewing 80 women and men. By collecting primary data, the project will play an important role in improving the lives of poor people by reviewing the direct and indirect effect of poverty alleviation. The research program also analyzes gender impacts in Bangladesh's labor market.

Contribution to International Research

To fill a gap in the knowledge about variations in the gender impact (and its mediation through social and micro norms) of poverty alleviation interventions in rural India and Bangladesh. The project particularly has focused on social differentiation (in rural areas with many poor people) in attitudes about women's work and its effect on women's work.
Project Name:       Changes In The Governance Of Garment Global Production Networks: Lead Firm, Supplier And Institutional Responses To The Rana Plaza Disaster
Time period:         January 2016 – December 2018
Name of Donor: Volkswagen Foundation of Germany
Project Leader: Simeen Mahmud
Cluster: Gender Studies


·         to collect data on leading garment retail firms in four countries (Australia, Germany, Sweden, UK) regarding supply chain structures and practices, on suppliers of these firms in Bangladesh regarding the management of these structures and practices, and on the outcome of these structures and practices for workers, as well as on stakeholders’ views and activities in the lead firm and supplier countries

·         to utilize the data and insights collected by the Garment Global Partners to produce outstanding academic publications on the governance of labour and environmental standards in global production networks

·         to amend and communicate the results to stakeholders in an effort to stimulate policy debate in the five countries and beyond

Project work:

1.      Factory Management Survey:

The Bangladesh management survey team conducted the survey of the factory management and 150 factory managements have been surveyed.

Team members of management survey:

·         Dr. Kazi Mahmudur Rahman, Scientific Researcher
·         Dr. Shahidur Rahman, Scientific Researcher
·         Two Research Assistants

2. Factory Worker Survey:

One of the objectives was to interview workers from the surveyed factories under the     management survey. From the list of factories covered in the management survey, made an initial list of survey areas looking for those areas which had relatively more factories covered by the management survey. Furthermore, 5 clearly identifiable survey sites were selected: Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Dhaka.  The study interviewed 100 male and 200 female workers from each site to yield a sample of 1500 workers (1000 women and 500 men).

Team members of factory worker survey:

·         Lopita Huq,  Research Fellow
·         Kabita Chowdhury, Research  Associate
·         Saiful Islam, Research Associate (working as survey co-coordinator and supervisor)
·         Eight enumarators 

Publications Under the Projects

Discussion Papers

1.  Frenkel, S. J., Rahman, K. M., Rahman, S. (2017):Between Lead Firms and Institutional Ensembles: Labour and Safety Practices in Bangladeshi Garment Export Factories, Garment Supply Chain  Governance Discussion Paper Series No. 03/2017.

Project Website
Project Name: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE)
Funded by: DFID
Duration: 2015-2023

Project Team: Simeen Mahmud, Maheen Sultan, Sabina F Rashid, Sohela Nazneen, Kabita Chowdhury, Sahida Khondaker, Nuzhat Sharmeen, Sufia Khatun, Sanjida Parvin

Cluster: Gender Studies

Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) is a DFID funded 9 year longitudinal research programme 2015-2023 focused on understanding what sorts of interventions at what junctures work to advance adolescent girls capabilities involving three broad research components. It will prepare evidence gap maps and synthesise reviews on best practice in tackling adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities (from child marriage to adolescent suicide to economic asset deficits). GAGE is a longitudinal mixed methods study of adolescent girls and their families which will trace changes over time into early adulthood. The study is being conducted in four countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Rwanda). A participatory research study in conflict-affected contexts in MENA (State of Palestine and Syrian refugee communities in Jordan and/or Lebanon) and West Africa (Northern Nigeria and possibly Burkina Faso or Niger) working with older adolescents as they transition out of empowerment programmes to better understand legacy effects is also being completed.

For more information please visit:
Funded by: UNDP
Project Duration: January 2016- August 2017

Project Team: Simeen Mahmud, Maheen Sultan, Kaniz Siddique, Ferdousi Sultana, Nazneen Ahmed, Sahida Khondaker, Iqbal Hossain, Nuzhat Sharmeen, Towhid Iqram Mahmood and Ahmed Asif Enam

Cluster: Gender Studies

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University has recently completed a study for UNDP entitled Evidence Based Foundations for Women's Economic Empowerment. The study had four parts: Lot 1-Macroeconomic Analysis, Lot 2-Analysis of Social and Institutional Constraints, Lot 3-Opportunities Analysis-Markets and Lot 4-Opportunities Analysis- Policies. Findings from studies 3 and 4 will be extremely relevant for this analytical review. Lot 3 looked at the opportunities that are available to the rising female labour force in Bangladesh that will enhance their economic empowerment as well. It also identified few thrust sectors where they can participate more in the near future. The study further explored the demand side and supply side opportunities and challenges. Lastly, it came up with recommendations for initiatives which both the public and private sector can provide in the short, medium and long term. Lot 4 evaluated the laws, policies and regulations of various sectors formulated in the last 10 years in Bangladesh, identified policy opportunities available, analysed gaps and suggested areas for policy intervention to increase women’s access to economic opportunities.