Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology

First Advisor

Ana Velitchkova

Second Advisor

Amy McDowell

Third Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



This thesis delves into the complex relationship between women's participation in Bangladesh's garment industry, their empowerment, and structural violence against them. Although Bangladesh's patriarchal society perpetuates structural violence against women, the garment sector has also facilitated social and economic empowerment for many. By adopting a gender-focused lens and examining the interplay between structural violence and empowerment, this research aims to explore the socio-economic status of female garment workers in Bangladesh during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020-2022. The study employs a qualitative content analysis, analyzing two national newspapers—The Daily Star and The Financial Express (Bangladesh)—as primary sources.

The findings show that female workers experience social and economic empowerment through their involvement in the garment industry. However, they often encounter resistance from male family members when attempting to enter the workforce, reflecting the structural violence within households. Furthermore, female workers face structural violence from the beginning of their employment in the garment sector. They typically do not receive contract papers upon being hired, leaving them susceptible to exploitation through low wages, poor working conditions, denied holidays, and physical and mental abuse.

Although these women dedicate long hours to garment industry work, many feel their social standing has declined. While they do experience some benefits, such as increased income. The negative aspects of their participation in the sector often overshadow the positives.



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