The Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on sexual harassment in the Australian workplace found that 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual harassment. CARE Australia says this is now at the same level as female garment workers in Cambodia.
CARE Australia Chief Executive Sally Moyle said while the similarity in statistics is concerning, learnings from South-East Asia are just as applicable when addressing sexual harassment in the Australian workplace.
“It is down to business leaders to send a clear message that violence and harassment at work is never acceptable. It has to start from the top,” Ms Moyle said.
“From decades of experience in the region, we know that helping employers to take a proactive stance is the best way to send a clear message about what behaviour will not be tolerated.”
In a report released next week, CARE’s ‘WHAT WORKS? Reducing sexual harassment in the workplace: A rapid review of evidence’ tackles the challenges that businesses face when trying to create safer working environments.
The report finds that any effort aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace must employ a ‘whole of organisation’ approach, dependent on strong corporate policies, a comprehensive complaint management approach and training for staff.
The findings of CARE’s review are set to be applied to workplaces like garment factories in Asia, where 80% of women are in vulnerable employment often unprotected by labour legislation.
Research conducted by CARE in Cambodia found that 1 in 3 garment workers faced violence and abuse in the last 12 months. CARE also found the productivity cost of sexual harassment in the garment industry is estimated at more than $117 million per year.
For interviews with CARE CEO Sally Moyle