Experts for pro-worker labour diplomacy

Kathmandu, March 13:

Experts here today demanded labour diplomacy to empower, safeguard and expand the migrant labourers’ market.

“The government should play the role of a watchdog,” said Prof Taslima Siddiqi from Dhaka University addressing an interaction programme, ‘Women in Foreign Employment: Right or Wrong — Experience from Bangladesh and Nepal’ organised by Labour Journalists’ Group, Nepal and NIDS.

When male migrant workers are harassed, the government stays quiet. “When a women migrant worker is harassed, it becomes a tool for the government to ban women migrant workers from having economic freedom,” she said adding that the government should lift such bans

and facilitate and inform women migrant workers to make it

more secure for them.

“Nobody can dismiss women migrant workers’ rights,” social scientist Ganesh Gurung said adding that they should be given the option of informed choice.

“Women migrant workers should be trained and given orientation for better perks and safety before going out,” the experts said while agreeing

that the fates of Nepali and Bangladeshi women are not much different as both the countries’ governments have similar attitudes towards women.

“Besides political freedom, economic freedom is a must for women empowerment,” Gurung said adding that they not only contribute to the economy but also to change in society.

Both Bangladeshi and Nepali male migrant workers in Gulf countries have protested against sending women migrant workers asked their respective governments to ban women workers from going abroad.

There is a huge demand for women migrant workers but government officials are

confused and take decisions based on a single case. “If the government does not facilitate women migrant workers, they will be trafficked and become more vulnerable,” Prof Siddiqi and Gurung both said.