Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Training aimed at tackling discrimination by gender




Training aimed at tackling discrimination by gender

A garment worker performs qualit- control checks before ironing at a factory in Phnom Penh
A garment worker performs quality control checks before ironing at a factory in Phnom Penh last year. Vireak Mai

Training aimed at tackling discrimination by gender

Cambodia's booming garment sector is a hotbed of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, rights advocates said yesterday, as the industry’s employers association plans to co-host training sessions aimed at curbing the long-running problem.

Beginning on Thursday, CARE Cambodia in conjunction with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), will host the upcoming two-day training, which sets out to create a greater understanding among managers of what is deemed harassment, gender-based violence and other issues.

In the Kingdom’s largest export industry, whose workforce is some 90 per cent women, female workers are often subject to job insecurity in addition to sexual harassment in the workplace, Aruna Kashyap, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Women’s Rights Division, said in an email yesterday.

“Gender inequality and gender-based discrimination manifests itself in many ways: not hiring ‘older’ women to work in factories; finding ways to cut costs by . . . putting them on short-term contracts,” Kashyap said. “Or not creating an enabling working environment; more men in management positions . . . cases where managers use sexually charged curse words to reprimand workers.”

Pregnancy is also a large obstacle for women working at garment factories, a 2012 International Labour Organization study says. Garment workers typically work on short-term labour contracts, enabling their supervisors to decline to renew. A major reason for refusal to renew a contract is pregnancy, which, according to the Labour Law, guarantees the employee at least three months of leave time, the ILO report says.

“While all pregnant women are entitled to maternity leave for a minimum of 90 calendar days under the Cambodian labour law, only women with a minimum of one year of uninterrupted service in the enterprise are entitled to maternity benefits,” the study says.

Dave Welsh, country manager of labour rights group Solidarity Center, yesterday said it is important that factory managers are receiving training on gender inequality.

“Management are guilty of this; they are the ones who apply or misapply the law,” Welsh said.

The upcoming training sessions will seek to educate employers on what qualifies as sexual harassment.

“Surveys show that people have some understanding of what behaviour is sexual harassment, but there is not a clear understanding of which behaviours are against the law or why all sexual harassment is inappropriate and offensive,” a CARE flyer about the program says. “Gaining a good understanding is the first step towards developing an effective policy for preventing sexual harassment from happening.”

Sexual harassment and other forms of gender inequality have long been a concern of GMAC, which began partnering with CARE about a decade ago, GMAC secretary general Ken Loo said yesterday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped