Protect: How can employers make workplaces safer for women?
For women to be valued equally alongside their male colleagues, women must feel employers place equal value on their safety at work. This is in the interest of any business: research has shown that women who feel unsafe are less productive and are more likely to be absent or leave, while women who feel their employer takes steps to protect them report they feel more loyal to their employer.
Employer protections can take many forms but they all contribute to women feeling confident that their voices will be hear and their that the contribution they make their workplace is recognised as helping women to have confidence etc
There are many ways that employers can take steps to protect their workers. In industries such as construction, personal protective equipment is vitally important for keeping all workers safe from harm. With the support of the European Union and Austrian Development Cooperation, CARE engages with construction site managers and supervisors to help them understand that ensuring protective equipment is available for all workers sends a clear message that they value all their employees equally, regardless of gender.
Protections for women can also include policies and procedures which take into account the specific risks they may face. Research published in 2017 indicated that one in three women in the garment industry in Cambodia had experienced sexual harassment. However, when managers put in place clear workplace policies for reporting sexual harassment and trained workers so they understood what behaviours are not acceptable, women reported that incidents of sexual harassment decreased and they felt safer at work.
This sexual harassment prevention package, developed with the support of the Australian Government and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, is an easy way for garment industry employers to protect their workers and empower the women they employ to speak up about what makes them feel unsafe.
By showing leadership in protecting all their workers equally, businesses give their women workers confidence that their skills will be respected and their voices will be heard.