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Progress touted on safe workplaces for women

A waitress takes an empty glass back to a service area at a Phnom Penh bar in 2014.
A waitress takes an empty glass back to a service area at a Phnom Penh bar in 2014. Scott Howes

Progress touted on safe workplaces for women

More than 200 drinking establishments in the capital have so far pledged their commitment to their female workers’ safety as part of the ongoing “Safe Workplaces, Safe Communities” project, officials at a workshop on the program’s progress said yesterday.

Launched by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the NGO CARE Cambodia three years ago and aimed at reducing violence and sexual harassment of women in the workplace, the project has seen a total of 255 beer gardens and KTV parlours pledge to promote the rights and dignity of women, said Sat Salim, deputy director of the ministry’s legal protection department. “The occurrence of violence at workplaces has declined,” she said. “The employers pay more attention now than before to the safety of their female employees.”

According to Salim, some of the initiatives introduced at the establishments include educating employers and workers on women’s rights and displaying messages advocating the cause around the workplace.

Eat Pisal, director of the gender violence program at CARE, said the initiative had found success because “the relationship between women and the authorities has deepened”.

“What is the most influential [change] is that women serving beer can [now] sit and talk to authorities to solve the problems they face,” she said.

Nonetheless, Salim acknowledged that participation remained “limited”.

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