Mainstreaming gender equality in the Cambodian garment sector
Cambodia’s thriving garment sector employs 650,000 workers, 80% percent of whom are women. Better Work impact research shows that our work in factories has had a positive effect on women’s lives, yet there is more work to do to ensure safe and inclusive workplaces with stronger female voices and representation. To support workplaces where women and men can progress and flourish, gender mainstreaming and gender awareness are a crucial part of Better Factories Cambodia’s engagement with factories and stakeholders.
In June 2022, funded in part by the Government of Canada through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Better Factories Cambodia provided three, one-day training on basic gender awareness to two different target groups in Svay Rieng Province.
The first day welcomed 18 provincial labour officials (six females) from various offices within the Department of Labour and Vocational Training (DoLVT), including labour inspectors and labour dispute officers. During the second and third days, training was provided to 37 Human Resource and Compliance Officers and worker representatives from 25 factories located in Bavet, Svay Rieng Province. The training was designed to provide participants with an understanding of gender in the workplace and how to promote gender equality at work.
Mr. Som Chakriya, one of the labour officers who joined the training, stated, “The contents of the gender training were very informative; the techniques on how to include gender into our work are something that we have used in our daily work. My colleagues and I who have participated in the training have shared what we have learned with our department to raise awareness of gender equality.”
Another main component of the training is to guide participants to identify and stop gender stereotyping and discrimination against women, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups in the workplace. At the end of the session, participants made an action plan related to gender inclusion and mainstreaming to apply in their workplaces.
“For our factory, since the training, we have restructured our recruitment process to offer equal opportunity to everyone. One of the most important actions we have taken is promoting “no discrimination” amongst all staff.” said Chen Ny, Human Resource officer of Kaoway factory who also participated in the training.
In Better Factories Cambodia’s work with stakeholders, the programme increasingly focuses on ensuring government, employers and worker organisations have the commitment and capacity to promote gender equality and engage in social dialogue on gender related issues. We will continue to work directly in factories and with our partners to ensure safe and inclusive workplaces for all.