Creating a space for women’s voices – Male Leadership Programme
BFC’s male leadership programme aims to transform how both male and female Performance Improvement Consultative Committee (PICC) members can inclusively participate to better represent the workers and management in the factory improvement process, and how male PICC members can create space to ensure women’s voice and representation. Respecting and upholding the voice of all genders creates fairer, more productive, and inclusive workplaces.
Quotes from the male participants
Story #1: Bun Veasna
Veasna like many Cambodians was raised in a traditional household, where housework was carried out by women, with men focusing on earning for the family. Even after marrying and having their daughter, Veasna who currently works as a line supervisor at a factory in Phnom Penh, still strongly believed in this system. He did not help his wife with the housework and would often spend his leisure time elsewhere. After attending Better Factories Cambodia’s Male Leadership Programme in late 2019, “I started to appreciate and value my wife in what she does for our home and started to share some of the responsibilities, I was very emotional and delighted that my wife mentioned that I am now a more caring and understanding husband.”
Being a line supervisor also means that Veasna supervises many female workers and he used to be blunt and offered discouraging feedback to them. Following the training, he has started to take the time to better communicate with his female supervisees, and he is aware of the importance of ensuring that men and women have equal job opportunities and has begun to take more of a coaching approach to giving feedback. “We as a team have improved our performance and communication, they mentioned that they are seeing me as a supportive supervisor rather than a supervisor who they used to fear.”
Story #2: Chan
Chan is an 80-year-old mechanic at a factory in the capital city of Cambodia. Chan used to use ill-mannered words, sexual jokes and physically harassed his female workers. “I had heard of gender equality but never took the time to understand it until I attended a training with Better Factories Cambodia. At first, I was very ashamed of myself and how I acted.” But after attended the training, Chan understood that some of his previous acts could be deemed as sexual harassment; has started to change how he interacts with others and has earned praise from his female colleagues about his changed behaviours.
As a member of the union, Chan started to share what he has learned to other colleagues especially those who were not aware of the importance of both female and male representation. He has been keeping and sharing the training documents with all of his colleagues long after his training.