22pc female RMG workers face harassment: Study
About 22 per cent of the female workers in the readymade garment (RMG) sector face physical, psychological and sexual harassment in their factories or on the way to or from the workplaces, according to a study.
Some 67 per cent of them do not seek support from violence against women (VAW) prevention committee in workplace due to limited chance of getting justice, it said.
Nearly 86 per cent of the respondents surveyed said male supervisors are the main perpetrators of violence or harassment in the factory.
Shojag, a coalition of five non-governmental organisations, carried out the study between March and June 2018. Some 382 female garment workers from Savar, Ashulia and Gazipur areas were interviewed.
The study was conducted under a project titled 'An Initiative to End Gender-based Violence in the Garment Industry' funded by Global Fund for Women.
Shakeb Nabi, country director of Christian Aid, moderated the study publication programme held in the city on Monday. Maheen Sultana, visiting fellow of BRAC Institute of Governance and Development, presented the study findings.
The study revealed that 76 per cent of surveyed workers faced violence and harassment outside the factory by stalkers, fellow workers and transport workers.
It said 83 per cent of the respondents experienced behaviour such as abusive verbal reprimand, groping while queuing for security check, unwanted touching by male colleagues, intimidation for attempted sexual relations in the workplace, corporal punishment in the workplace, sexual harassment in public and rape or attempted rape.
The majority of the respondents (68 per cent) said there was no effective VAW prevention committee in the workplace or that they were unaware of such a committee in the factory.
It also revealed that 59 per cent of the workers got written appointment during their recruitment and 96 per cent of the total workers received identity cards.
Most of the respondents said factory authority grants maternity leave with pay.
But 53.8 per cent reported that maternity leave allowance was provided to them as per the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards. According to the study, 11 per cent of the respondents said they feel insecure in the workplace.
Motiur Rahman, Deputy Inspector General of Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, said provisions of unpaid long-term leaves and less workload in the workplaces should be incorporated in the law for women workers along with maternity allowance.