These Young Women Are The Future Of The Motorcycle Mechanic Industry In Bangladesh


We’re so used to hearing the phrase “male-dominated industry” about, let’s face it, the majority of jobs on earth today. But thanks to a rise in the focus on gender equality and a new generation of young men and women believing more than ever that gender roles and stereotypes are a thing of the past, we are slowly starting to see a shift occur in a number of countries.

In Bangladesh, the term gender equality isn’t exactly on the tip of everyone’s tongue. There is an overwhelming sense that women are not always considered equal to men. UNICEF states that this gender discrimination often begins from birth and affects the opportunities girls have throughout their lives.

There are 1.5 million girls who do not have access to basic education. There are many girls and boys who do not have access to this fundamental right which means cycles of poverty are passed on from generation to generation.

But on the other end of the scale, women are making great strides in certain areas. The International Labour Organization states there is a quiet revolution going on amongst women. Although it is still a developing country, Bangladesh is making great strides to addressing inequality, with its wage gap the 8th lowest in the world.


The ILO believes this could be partly due to the fact they have had a female head of state for longer than any other country in the world, Sheikh Hasina, who has been the Prime Minister since January 2009.

Because of this important representation of female leadership, other stereotypical gender roles around women are slowly being eroded away. One area that the Bangladeshi Government together with the International Labor Organization are looking to change for women is job training skills. The partnership between the org and the gov’t has enabled girls to conquer the hurdle of not getting an education by equipping them with the skills to be something that was previously unheard of – a motorcycle mechanic!

The 10-month initiative (offered to both men and women) combines literacy and numeracy training, as well as practical training so these young Bangladeshi’s are ready for the workforce. A report by Global Citizen states this program is creating a generation of skilled women which didn’t necessarily exist before for this particular industry.


Already the results are showing with the girls in the training program excited about their new future prospects.

“When we first joined, people used to doubt if girls like us can do this. We started working and slowly we became able to provide good service. When customers saw that we could service motorcycles as well as do other things, they stopped doubting us,” said one girl, Khadija.

“Boys and girls are working here together – it’s really good,” she added.

The program for the mechanics is based on competency, dictated by industry standards. This means there is no reason gender should come into the equation. As long as they have the merit, any girl can do this job. This seems to suit the female trainees perfectly.


“As a girl I have not faced any problems working here. It is a good environment and I feel safe in every way. I work the whole day running here and there, and it feels good,” said another girl Pinki.

“I’m thinking of studying again and getting a diploma after this course. After that I might even start a workshop,” she added.

If this environment, which is safe and productive for girls, is proof that there is progress is happening, we can’t wait to see how it expands in other industries around the country. Take a look at the ILO video feature on the Bangladeshi female motorcycle mechanics below:

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