HERrespect: Promoting Positive Gender Relations through Workplace Interventions
The programme is led by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) in partnership with Change Associates, the Awaj Foundation and the International Labor Organization’s Better Work programme.
Dhaka Division, Bangladesh
Summary of Intervention / Research
The ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh employs up to four million people and has high female participation. Building on BSR’s seven years of experience creating workplace-based women’s empowerment programs, HERrespect is developing a new approach on how workplaces can be transformed to recognise gender equality as a business priority. Working directly in factories provides an entry point to shift workplace practices, and to reach workers’ families and communities. The workplace can act as an incubator for dialogue between men and women on the underlying issues that lead to violence, and also provides a space to reach women who, despite gaining financial independence, are still at risk.
The 10-month program aims to promote more gender equitable attitudes and relationships amongst women and men in the RMG industry through the following interventions:
- Training for middle management and female workers on gender awareness and interpersonal skills to prevent and address sexual harassment and intimate partner violence;
- Factory-wide campaigns on prevention and response to violence;
- Guidance on best practices and policies to prevent and address sexual harassment, implemented in collaboration with ILO/IFC’s Better Work program; and
- Training for peer leaders on gender in workers’ cafes, where workers gather for leisure and learning after working hours.
BSR supported international research organization icddr,b to conduct formative research in 2015 so that we could better understand the forms and causes of violence in factories. A gender transformative curriculum is being developed and will be field-tested in April and May 2016. Training commenced in August 2016, with the baseline preceding that.
Marat Yu, Associate, Partnership Development and Research, BSR