Moe Moe Win (33) works hard to contribute to her family of eight’s income. She is employed as Senior Production Staff at the Mar Mar Noodle Factory, where she has worked since 2006. She is a migrant worker, who travelled to the region alone many years ago. She enjoys the job, but going to work wasn’t always a positive experience.
“Sexual harassment has a negative impact not only on survivors but also on the working environment,” Moe Moe Win explains.”
“We were cat-called, mocked and called names based on our appearances and skin colour. Some called us lesbians if we dressed too much like men. We didn’t like this and I felt very uncomfortable.”
“We sometimes felt unsafe at work because co-workers and supervisors harassed us using lewd or sexual jokes, innuendo and inappropriate language. It made us annoyed and uncomfortable.”
One of the causes of this disrespectful environment is that the country has no laws that dictate appropriate workplace behaviour when it comes to harassment, so perpetrators rarely face consequences.
“Myanmar does not have any specific laws or policies that address violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. So there’s a lack of protection for people who are easy targets or survivors of violence and harassment. That’s why I strongly support the development of laws and policies that can prevent violence and sexual harassment against anyone in the workplace and I am committed to achieving this goal.”
After CARE came to Moe Moe Win’s factory to educate management and staff about the importance of having a harassment-free workplace, things began to change for the better.
“After I received training from CARE, my knowledge about sexual harassment in the workplace and how to prevent it has greatly improved. It is very good to tell workers that sexual harassment is not acceptable because it helps create a safe workplace.”
Moe Moe Win even took a role as Chairwoman of the labour union at the factory to help implement change:
“I was able to develop the sexual harassment policy and succeeded in convincing our factory management to integrate it into our employment contracts.”
“I feel safer thanks to the awareness-raising sessions run by CARE. Adding the sexual harassment policy into our employment contracts has helped combat the hostile working environment. Thanks to all that, I now feel safer at work.”
“Each and every worker, owner, and all staff should attend awareness-raising sessions on what constitutes violence and harassment, and understand why the laws and policies are needed. By doing this, we will all have safe workplaces. This is my hope.”