Strengthening and Cultivating Opportunities in Productions for Empowerment (SCOPE) Baseline Study

Echotex Ltd. is a platinum-certified garments factory with over 9,000 employees. It has taken various steps to provide improved working conditions to its workers. Recently it has formed a partnership with BRAC to build a multi-pronged Strengthening and Cultivating Opportunities in Productions for Empowerment (SCOPE) intervention project that will provide improved health, education, daycare, and legal aid services to its workers and also provide them with training on gender equality, legal aid, health awareness, and leadership. This report is based on a baseline survey and qualitative interviews conducted before the full-fledged implementation of the SCOPE project. This report provides a cross-sectional, gender-disaggregated analysis of the working conditions in the factory, services that are available to the workers and workers’ knowledge, practice, and attitude particularly with regard to legal rights, gender equality and empowerment.

Researchers: Mahabub Rahman; Maheen Sultan; Lopita Huq; Pragyna Mahpara

Partners: Gender Justice and Diversity Program, BRAC

Timeline: 2018-2019

Status: Completed

Contact: Lopita Huq;


With a view to further enhancing decent working conditions for the increasing number of workers and their well-being, Echotex approached BRAC to institutionalise a multi-pronged intervention addressing various needs of the workers. The Gender Justice and Diversity (GJ&D) Program of BRAC conducted a needs assessment study in 2014 which resulted in the design of the SCOPE project. By improving workers’ lives in the workplace and at home, and by providing access to various services, the aim of this partnership project is to establish Echotex as a model for gender-sensitive decent workplace for garment factories in Bangladesh.


The objectives of the baseline research were to 1) generate a set of baseline indicators against which change can be measured and 2) provide a general picture of the situation of the workers and management of Echotex to inform the intervention and policies more generally.

This study is relevant to SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), particularly to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.


For this study, we used both quantitative and qualitative methods. As a part of the quantitative method, we surveyed a total of 703 male and female factory employees. Survey respondents were selected by following both purposive sampling and random sampling method. In the qualitative part, ten key-informant interviews (KIIs) with Echotex management, program staff, and five in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted. As the secondary source of information, we reviewed relevant literature. Documents reviewed included project proposal, guidelines/policy documents, and other research reports/documents relevant to working conditions in the ready-made garments (RMG sector).

Findings and Recommendations

Our findings reveal that garment factory work is the first job for many and is particularly important for women and those with low levels of education. The terms and conditions of work in Echotex are beneficial. Most employees receive various benefits, including provident funds and health insurance. Most respondents expressed job satisfaction, which is also evidenced by their desire to continue working in this factory. They identify good behaviour of supervisors and management and good annual increment as key to workers’ emotional well-being and most state they get it in this factory. Harassment in the factory is mostly limited to infrequent verbal harassment and behaviour that is humiliating, with very low levels of physical or sexual harassment. There is a wide choice of complaint mechanisms for workers which they are aware of. The factory also promotes training on a wide range of issues, not only related to work but also well-being. But training on workers’ rights is lacking. Workers’ participation in different committees shows the factory’s intent in nurturing leadership skills. However, there is a strong preference for male supervisors. The factory provides good health care service and a daycare centre at the factory premises both of which are utilised by workers. The findings show that more needs to be done in terms of knowledge around legal issues and gender equality. There is a disjuncture between knowledge of laws and practice, which reflects socialisation effect and social realities. The findings also show that there have been some changes in gender relations in terms of sharing household work but the acceptance of violence against women needs to be addressed strongly. In terms of the SCOPE intervention, training has started on issues regarding legal rights and gender equality. These show potential for change and should be pursued vigorously. BRAC’s legal aid clinic in the factory premises and BRAC’s daycare centres in the community is gaining popularity. But BRAC school and health interventions are facing some challenges. Since it is the early days of the intervention, there is scope for addressing these challenges.