How Automation Will Impact Garment Workers in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the number two exporter of ready-made clothing in the world, surpassed only by China. For this rapidly developing economy, the garment industry is the single source of growth and the primary source of foreign exchange earnings. In a country where more than four million rely on the garment industry for work, automation is a real threat. Many worry about their jobs being replaced by machines that automate part of the clothes-making process. By one estimate, if automation reaches its potential, countries like Bangladesh will lose more than 80% of their garment, manufacturing, and textile jobs. Some economists have called this a social time bomb. With the impact of technology in mind, I traveled to Bangladesh to get an up-close look at the often unseen side of the fashion industry.

Inside a factory in Bangladesh, a garment factory worker manages a machine that warps cotton into denim. Bengali garment workers are among the lowest-paid sector workers in Asia
Two young women working in a cotton mill in Bangladesh. Women make up 80% of garment workers and are often the sole breadwinners of their families
One worker in a denim dying facility manages a row of machines
A Bengali garment worker inspects a pair of jeans 
Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.

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