In Bangladesh, approximately 60 percent of female workers have experienced some form of harassment at work. Sexually explicit language, unwanted physical attention and out and out sexual harassment can be the norm. A new project, funded by What Works, and being implemented by BSR – Business for Social Responsibility, aims to prevent this, by transforming the factory floor from a space of discrimination, to a space of discussion and change.
The HERrespect project, launched in October, will continue to build on gender work already being conducted by BSR as part of its HERproject work that connects labour organisations with suppliers and buyers, to change start making the business case for improving the rights, standards and health of female workers across the business chain. The project has been developed based on rigorous formative research conducted by the icddr,b in Bangladesh.
Their research found emotional violence to be common for female workers, and that sexual violence was also a common, but hidden phenomenon. Their research also indicated that in the workplace, middle-level management were most likely to be the perpetrators of violence against women; but that it was violence from partners outside the factory walls, that still posed the greatest threat to women.
To read more about the project, see this blog, Bringing Respect to the Factory Floor and Beyond: Launching HERrespect in Bangladesh, from BSR Associate, Marat Yu.