Apparel industry can give more jobs to women: WB

Apparel industry can give more jobs to women: WB

China may relinquish its lead position

Apparel industry can give more jobs to women: WB

At a time when nearly one million people are expected to enter the workforce every month for the next three decades, export-oriented apparel production in India and other South Asian countries has the potential to create more and better jobs, says a new World Bank report.

As wages increase, China, the largest apparel manufacturer for the last 10 years, is expected to slowly relinquish its lead position in the global apparel market, opening the door to other competitors. This could be a huge opportunity for India and other South Asian countries. Even a 10% increase in Chinese apparel prices could create at least 1.2 million new jobs in the Indian apparel industry, the report estimated.

The report ‘The Stitches to Riches? Apparel Employment, Trade and Economic Development’, launched here on Thursday is aimed at demystifying the global and South Asian apparel markets, estimating the potential gains in exports and jobs, and identifying policies that can unleash South Asia’s export and job potential compared with those of their closest competitors in the Southeast Asia region (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia).

“Women are expected to benefit the most as their share in the total apparel employment is much higher than their share in other industries. A 1% increase in expected wages in the textiles and apparel industry could raise the probability of women entering the labor force by 18.9%,” it said.

“Apparel manufacturing not only has a huge potential for creating jobs, particularly for the poor but also has a unique ability to attract female workers. Employed women are more likely to create positive social impacts as they tend to spend their income on the health and education of children,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director, India. “Rising costs of apparel manufacturing in China provides a window of opportunity for India to focus on apparel in productively employing its huge working-age population,” Ruhl said.

The top four apparel producers in South Asia — Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — have made big investments in world apparel trade and account for 12% of global apparel exports. India also has a more diversified export structure and has a well-developed fibre (cotton), textile and apparel manufacturing base.

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