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Figure 2. Growth of labour force (10 yeas and above) between 1961 and 1999/2000

50

45

40

Total labour force

35

Million persons

30

25

20

Male

Census

Census

MPS

Census

LFS

LFS

LFS

1961

1974

1980

1981

1983/84

1984/85

1985/86

15

10

5

0

Note: Based on the usual definition. MPS=Manpower survey, LFS=Labour force survey Source: Report on Labour Force Survey in Bangladesh 1984/85, 1995/96, 1999/2000

LFS

Female

1989

LFS

LFS

LFS

1990/91

1995/96

1999/00

The majority of the female labour force lives in rural areas (Table 3). The issue of wage earning opportunities for women was first addressed in the rural context. Besides the FFW programme, various NGOs incorporated income-generating activities targeting poor women in their development programmes. There were two approaches, production enhancement based on women’s traditional skills and employment expansion (Chen 1986). The production enhancement scheme was mainly conducted within the sphere of rural women’s everyday life and was based

on skills already existing among women in the husbandry, poultry rearing, fish culture, paddy employment expansion scheme, on the other hand,

fields

of

horticulture,

animal

husking,

and

so

forth.

The

tried to expand women’s skills

and work traditionally bound by gendered norms. It sought new markets the women’s communities and external expertise was hired for things like

beyond product

design, skill upgrading and merchandising. While generates steady income, returns to the producers are

the second type of scheme said to remain relatively low,

and independent production institutionalised programme

by women is highly unlikely to succeed, without an

network (Feldman and McCarthy 1983: 217).

Also,

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