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“I felt humiliated and could not focus on my work after I was harassed by my co-worker. I decided to report to the sexual harassment prevention committee because I trust them.” Pha*, a garment worker in Cambodia, is employed by a factory which has been working with CARE to improve how they respond to reports of workplace sexual harassment. We helped them build an environment where gender-based violence is not tolerated and women are more confident to report incidents of abuse.

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Women make up approximately half of workers in global value chains, yet their representation in leadership positions is poor. Through the FCDO-funded Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW) programme – of which CARE is an alliance member – M&S is seeking to understand where the women leaders are in their value chains, what are the barriers holding them back, and how M&S can work with their suppliers to help more women progress. This blog shares some of the insights from our research so far.

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The garment industry employs 60 million workers around the world, nearly 75% of whom are women. The International Labour Organization has estimated that nearly 25 million jobs could be lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and women working in garment supply chains are particularly vulnerable. During this period of crisis, CARE is calling on brands, governments, supplier factories, trade unions and civil society to take action to protect the rights of women working in the garment industry.

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“I’ve been doing this work for 30 years, so to come to a space like this and have everyone in the room start from a place of ‘we have a problem’ is powerful.” - Robin Runge, Senior Gender Specialist, Solidarity Center.

The safe space referred to above was the recent Business of Women at Work event, where more than 150 garment industry stakeholders from 10+ countries across Asia gathered to discuss solutions to the challenge of violence and harassment within supply chains.

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We want the women employed in the supply chains of the companies which make your clothes to have access to decent jobs free from violence and harassment and to be able to voice their rights at work. 

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At the International Labour Conference (ILC) taking place now (10-21 June 2019), governments, employers and unions are negotiating global legislation on ending violence and harassment in the world of work. A global Convention is vitally important if we want safe and respectful workplaces for everyone because sexual harassment prevention starts with strong leadership and this legislation represents a clear global direction.

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Today the 108th session of the annual International Labour Conference kicks off in Geneva. As momentum builds for a strong and inclusive ILO Convention to end violence and harassment in the world of work, we are pleased to note growing support from the business community as well. We particularly welcome support from three prominent business organisations Business Fights Poverty, The B Team and BSR, who join our corporate partners Avon, Diageo, Marks & Spencer and Unilever in endorsing CARE’s statement of support originally released on International Women’s Day in March this year.

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