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Building the confidence of female garment factory workers to speak up against sexual harassment

CARE International in Cambodia has been working with garment factory managers to ensure female workers feel safe from sexual harassment. Through the STOP project, they support workplaces develop positive policies and increase women’s confidence to stand up to sexual harassment and report it.

Rotha, 32, is a line leader at a garment factory in Phnom Penh. She attended a CARE training program where she learnt about sexual harassment prevention and how to help her friend to speak up to stop sexual harassment at her workplace.

“I never knew that talking about sex or making sexist jokes was sexual harassment. When I

attended the training, I understood that sexual harassment is unwelcome, uninvited and unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that can make people feel scared, unhappy and want to resign from their work,” she said.

“After CARE’s STOP project engaged with us, we were able to quickly resolve many cases of sexual harassment. Our factory has a sexual harassment policy to protect all workers to feel safe in the workplace. Moreover, factory management has established sexual harassment committees to train workers and share information with them. If worker is harassed, they can report to a trusted line manager or committee member”.

Rotha mentions that, “one day, one of my team members experienced sexual harassment from a machine repairer. Whilst fixing a machine, he touched her shoulder without permission and made a dirty joke. Even though she immediately told him to stop, he continued to harass to her.

My team was scared and worried about his behaviour and asked me to support them to deal with the situation. I met with the machine repairer and told him to stop his behaviour. I also added, that if he didn’t stop, I would report the case to the sexual harassment committee for investigation. A few days later, I received an update that he had stop harassing my team member and that she now feels safe at work”.

She added, our management team are taking many steps to address sexual harassment in this factory. They allow all line leaders around 10-15 minutes per day to share information with their line workers. I shared what I learnt from sexual harassment committees, and told my team that sexual harassment cannot be accepted and that they must speak up if they are harassed”.

Rotha thanked CARE and her factory management team for taking time to provide sexual harassment awareness training to all workers. “Being a line leader, I am so happy to learn new things and share them with all workers. I hope that CARE will work with other factories to provide knowledge to all workers so they understand what sexual harassment is and have the confidence to speak up to stop it.”

CARE also work with many other line leaders at the garment factory and support many of them like Rotha with support from Australian Government.

CARE’s work on the Gender Based Violence and Dignified Works is supported by the Australian Government and many other private donors.

Learn more at Enhancing Women's Voice to Stop Sexual Harassment>

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