STOP Sexual Harassment project STOP Sexual Harassment project

Women make up 75% of the garment and textiles industry, and almost a third of those women have reported sexual harassment in their workplace

Women make up 75% of the garment and textiles industry, and almost a third of those women have reported sexual harassment in their workplace

Sexual harassment is a global issue. It is a form of gender-based violence – one of the most tolerated violations of workers’ human rights experienced by women across the Mekong.

It is a deeply sensitive issue rooted in unequal power and gender relations and disproportionately affects women and girls. Across the Mekong, existing sexual harassment legislation is weak, often unregulated and poorly implemented.

The Enhancing Women’s Voice to STOP Sexual Harassment (STOP)project is working in four countries in the Mekong to address sexual harassment in the garment industry. Through this project, CARE is developing models to support industry, government, and civil society in preventing and responding to sexual harassment. The project will develop, test and adapt workplace models for preventing and responding to sexual harassment in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, ensuring violence-free workplaces.

Fast Facts

  • Nearly 1 in 3 female garment factory workers reported experiencing sexually harassing behaviours in the workplace over the last 12 months.
  • As at the end of 2015, there were – 60-75 million people employed in the garment and textiles industry worldwide, 75% of whom were women.
  • The STOP project is expected to work with 40 factories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
  • International evidence demonstrates that abusive behaviour in the workplace affects profits and productivity. Sexual harassment decreases staff productivity and wellbeing.
  • Major partner: This project has been made possible thanks to generous contributions and ongoing support from the Australian Government.

Sexual harassment stops here

In Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, we’re working with the garment industry, unions, NGOs and government stakeholders to identify, test and roll out appropriate models. Workplace models and implementation packages will be designed to respond to the legal and gender issues in each context and will be tested with stakeholders including garment workers themselves.

Packages will be developed based on global evidence of what works, drawing from:

  • CARE’s expertise in developing a workplace sexual harassment package for Cambodia
  • Insights into the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment
  • Each country’s legal, political and situational analysis
  • CARE’s global review of evidence in effective organisational change and development in relation to sexual harassment in the field of social psychology.

The project will strengthen the evidence base on the effectiveness of workplace interventions to tackle sexual harassment in factory settings. This evidence and research from the project will inform national advocacy efforts, including reforms and regulations to address workplace sexual harassment.

©CARE
©CARE

What we’re doing:

  • CARE developed a workplace sexual harassment prevention package for garment factories that includes a workplace sexual harassment policy, an implementation guide for factories and comprehensive multimedia training modules for factories to deliver to staff to help them prevent and report sexual harassment.
  • The package has been developed in consultation with the Cambodian garment industry and its workers, as well as government stakeholders, and will continue to be tested in partnership with factories in Cambodia.

What we hope to achieve:

Significant reduction in sexual harassment

Women workers in garment factories in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam will experience safer and more productive workplaces due to a reduction in sexual harassment. Building on CARE’s extensive experience, STOP will adapt existing and proven CARE tools that educate workers and employers on sexual harassment and the relevant policies and laws.

Working together

We’ll draw on our tested approaches for influencing behaviour change and social norms when working with women employees, workplace managers, private sector partners, industry associations, regional organisations and government agencies to address sexual harassment. STOP will tailor workplace sexual harassment policies, implementation guides, and comprehensive multimedia training packages that factories can deliver, in order to prevent and report sexual harassment.

Promote long-lasting change

STOP will advocate for improved national policy and legal frameworks that respond to sexual harassment in the workplace. We’ll do this through tripartite engagement with government, industry associations, trade unions and the ILO. Garment factories will also implement effective and appropriate models to address sexual harassment in the workplace, with workers benefiting from better workplace practices and protections, and improved policy settings.

Promote gender equality

STOP will address gender equality through three domains of change:
1. We’ll build the agency and confidence of female workers to recognise sexual harassment in the workplace and voice their concerns.
2. We’ll support female factory workers to report sexual harassment-free from negative consequences and to encourage men to be more respectful and speak out against it.
3. We’ll help strengthen national regulatory environments to promote mechanisms that address sexual harassment in the workplace.

Bopha – Garment Factory Worker

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

18-year-old Bopha has been subjected to verbal and physical harassment at the factory she works in.

One man, who she considered a friend, would criticise her appearance.

“He said to me, ‘Why do you dress like this?’ I don’t like being questioned like this. He said, ‘You are already ugly. Trying to be pretty is futile… Nobody will love you.’ I was very upset by that comment.”

Bopha didn’t say anything though, because she was uncertain of what support existed in the factory for women who were being harassed.

“I didn’t know about sexual harassment, and I was new to the workplace. I didn’t know there could be sexual harassment in the factory.”

“I joined training from CARE about sexual harassment. They came to the factory and asked me to join. I learned that there are many forms of sexual harassment. It includes touching, talking, and other actions.”

Thanks to the training, the women in Bopha’s factory now know who to talk to and what will happen when they report harassment and abuse.

©Kate Adelung/CARE

Read more about how we’re working to empower women and girls:

For further information, read our reviews and reports:

– Stopping sexual harassment in workplaces report

Summary of findingsReducing sexual harassment in the workplace evidence-based review

Full reportReducing sexual harassment in the workplace evidence-based review

Working to prevent sexual harassment – why sexual harassment harms women, men and business

– Sexual Harassment and Garment Manufacturing in the Mekong: summary of Legal Frameworks

Addressing sexual harassment: CARE’s solution for the garment industry

Addressing sexual harassment: How to engage CARE with your business

CARE Australia is accredited by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), responsible for managing the Australian Government’s aid program.

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