For Bangladeshi Women, Factory Work Is Worth the Risks

A survivor of a factory fire sees a better future for her daughter
Akhter with her daughter, Riza, next to the shed they call home Photograph by Mehul Srivastava

To give her daughter opportunities neither she nor her mother had, Nazma Akhter made the only choices possible for a poor, illiterate woman in Bangladesh. She fled her village, bolting the door behind her so her mother couldn’t chase her down. She moved to Dhaka, the capital, and began living in a shed the size of a parking space. She worked 12-hour days making jeans, T-shirts, and dresses, earning no more than $98 a month.

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