Council Commentary

Responding to Rana Plaza: A Made-in-Bangladesh Boycott Won’t Help Girls

The collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh a year ago killed more than 1,000 people and injured more than 2,500. Many of those injured and killed were migrant adolescent girls who were employed in a garment factory in the building. The tragedy drew attention to safety issues at Bangladesh garment factories and led some to call for boycotts of clothing made in Bangladesh.

Council researcher Sajeda Amin argues against a boycott, calling it a significant step back for the rights and livelihoods of girls and women, whose lives have been transformed by the opportunity to work. “Earning a wage helps young women prepare for a variety of life scenarios, balancing long-term and short-term goals,” Amin says in a blog on The Guardian’s adolescent girls hub. “Rather than risk the gains made by young women in Bangladesh, which were facilitated in large part by the garment industry, I recommend supporting initiatives that build upon these gains and expand opportunities for girls and young women.”