Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, visited Zhen Tai factory to view the work of the Partnering to Save Lives (PSL) project to improve reproductive health among women working in garment factories. PSL is funded by the Australian Government.
Stott Despoja toured Zhen Tai with the factory’s HR manager and visited the factory infirmary, where CARE’s partner Marie Stopes International Cambodia provides training to health staff. She then watched a lunchtime education session on contraception, delivered by one of CARE’s peer educators as part of the Sewing for a Brighter Future project.
Speaking about the visit, she said, “I’ve met impressive young activists who have been involved in educating their peers about sex and reproductive health. They are tackling the everyday issues confronting young Cambodians about their sexuality, including questions about sexual coercion within relationships.”
In an article in the Cambodia Daily, Stott Despoja emphasised the importance of the economic empowerment of women, one of CARE’s key priorities in Cambodia.
“The link between women’s empowerment and prosperity is now well understood. The ILO’s estimates that the Asia-Pacific region alone loses around $47 billion a year because of limited female access to jobs and more than $16 billion a year due to poor female education are a blunt reminder of what we all lose when inequities persist. The young women I met working in the factory are an important part of Cambodia’s future prosperity and Australia’s support for NGO-run factory-based infirmaries is a practical way that we can support them.”
CARE has been working in Zhen Tai for five years, initially with Sewing for a Brighter Future, funded by Levi Strauss, and now also with PSL, which is funded by the Australian Government. To learn more about CARE’s work with garment factories, visit www.care-cambodia.org/factories.