The World of Work

Many urban Bangladeshi men and women have professional careers. They may be engineers, scientists, accountants, educators or doctors. Agriculture, however, is the work of most people in this mainly rural country. The fiery red sunset over a sea of brilliant green paddy fields in the national flag of Bangladesh denotes the lush greenery that can be seen everywhere.

Families work in the fields tending crops, usually rice, although wheat, jute, tea, tobacco and sugar cane are also grown. Women process the harvest, drying and husking rice. They then also cook, clean and care for the children. Older children learn work skills and habits from their parents, boys from their fathers and girls from their mothers.

Rivers and canals form a huge transportation network. The rivers are like Bangladesh's roads. Ferrying people and goods along them provides employment for many people. Fishing is also an important industry and many fish are caught for consumption as well as export.

The processing of jute ranks as the chief industry in Bangladesh. The raw jute is spun into string and rope at factories. This is then used as a raw material for making a number of finished goods. Almost one million Bangladeshi women work in clothing factories around Dhaka and Chittagong making T shirts and other garments. This industry is growing very quickly and is a major supplier to Europe and North America.

Weavers, carpet makers, carpenters, potters and metalworkers create useful and beautiful products. Many Bangladeshis also work in their homes making embroidered items, wooden and leather goods and pottery.

Forestry, mining and tourism are other important industries that contribute to national income and employment.

Only 7% of the work force is women, according to government statistics.

Did you know?

Bangladesh produces more jute than any other country in the world.

Did you know?

In the days of the Roman Empire, the exquisite muslin cloths of Bangladesh were extremely popular. Observers worried that demand for textiles ventalis, woven of air, would drain the imperial treasury.