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Countries with greater female labor force participation generally see later marriages, fewer children, better nutrition and school enrolment, and higher gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.
"The apparel sector offers a promising and realistic entry point for women into the formal labor force, thanks to a high wage premium compared to agriculture," the report said.
"As apparel exports increase, the rising demand for female labor pulls women from agriculture and other informal sectors."
Average wages in the industry range from about $0.51 per hour in Bangladesh to about $1.06 in India, compared with $2.60 in China, according to 2012 data compiled by the World Bank.
In Roman times, wool, linen and leather clothed the European population, and silk, imported along the Silk Road from China, was an extravagant luxury.
The use of flax fibre in the manufacturing of cloth in Northern Europe dates back to Neolithic times.
During the late medieval period, cotton began to be imported into northern Europe.
Without any knowledge of what it came from, other than that it was a plant, noting its similarities to wool, people in the region could only imagine that cotton must be produced by plant-borne sheep. 
John Mandeville, writing in 1350, stated as fact the now-preposterous belief: "There grew in India a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches.
These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungry."
This aspect is retained in the name for cotton in many European languages, such as German Baumwolle, which translates as "tree wool".
By the end of the 16th century, cotton was cultivated throughout the warmer regions of Asia and the Americas.
In 1761, the Duke of Bridgewater's canal connected Manchester to the coal fields of Worsley and in 1762, Matthew Boulton opened the Soho Foundry engineering works in Handsworth, Birmingham.
His partnership with Scottish engineer James resulted, in 1775, in the commercial production of the more efficient Watt steam engine which used a separate condensor.
In 1764, James Hargreaves is credited as inventor of the spinning jenny which multiplied the spun thread production capacity of a single worker — initially eightfold and subsequently much further.
Others credit the original invention to Thomas Highs.
Industrial unrest and a failure to patent the invention until 1770 forced Hargreaves from Blackburn, but his lack of protection of the idea allowed the concept to be exploited by others.
As a result, there were over 20,000 Spinning Jennies in use by the time of his death.
Again in 1764, Thorp Mill, the first water-powered cotton mill in the world was constructed at Royton, Lancashire, England.
It was used for carding cotton. With the spinning and weaving process now mechanized, cotton mills cropped up all over the North West of England.

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