Home Apparel AUW shows true leadership with scholarships for RMG workers

AUW shows true leadership with scholarships for RMG workers

The Asian University for Women is to be applauded for its new scholarship scheme aimed at women working in Bangladesh’s garment factories. It is highly encouraging to see leading Bangladeshi garment manufacturers supporting the first 22 women garment workers who have become Pathways Scholars at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong. The employers of the garment workers have agreed with AUW to continue to pay their wages while the women study so that they can keep supporting their families, and their university fees are being paid for by charitable donations. By enabling women who might otherwise have been stuck on a production line to pursue higher education, the AUW and factory owners involved are setting an invaluable example. For the AUW, which opened in 2008 as an international university attracting students from 15 countries to Chittagong, the scheme advances its mission to create a new generation of female leaders, by using charitable funds from donors such as the Gates and Ikea foundations to recruit and support the most talented people, irrespective of background. The garment factories themselves will directly benefit from the world-class education gained by the future women graduates they support. Most important of all, the scheme shows genuine vision and leadership. Improving skills and education levels is the most important challenge Bangladesh needs to meet to maximise the potential of our people. As the economy grows, low-wage and low-skill labour will become increasingly unsustainable. It is very important then to raise aspirations and increase expectations by investing in skills development. The AUW garment scholarships scheme shows the way forward and sets a tremendous example for all employers. It is vital that we seek to become a country where everyone has access to a world class education.