New report calls for greater respect for the rights of women workers

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(Dhaka, Paris) A new report released today by FIDH and Odhikar calls for greater respect for the rights of women workers in the ready-made garment (RMG) and construction sectors in Bangladesh.

The report, titled “Women at work - Systematic violations of labor rights in the construction and garment sectors in Bangladesh,” explores the conditions of women working in these two industrial sectors in Bangladesh, and the extent to which their treatment is discriminatory and lacking any conformity with existing laws, resulting in the violation of their rights.

Based on field visits to RMG factories and construction sites, focus group discussions with workers, and individual interviews with 100 women workers in the RMG and construction sectors, the report highlights widespread and systematic human rights violations, including: gender-based wage discrimination; sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV); dangerous workplaces; insufficient provision of healthcare and sanitation; and child labor. These human rights violations in the workplace, in turn, perpetuate and entrench widespread inequality and discrimination of women in Bangladeshi society.

“Despite significant global attention on the plight of garment factory workers and a series of legislative reforms triggered by the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, we are concerned that the situation on the ground has not improved for most women workers. Legislative changes must be accompanied by greater monitoring of worksites, protection measures, and an end to impunity for employers that fail to respect worker rights.”

Guissou Jahangiri, FIDH Vice-President

FIDH and Odhikar call on the government of Bangladesh to strengthen the legislative and policy framework for worker rights in the RMG and construction sectors, and, most importantly, to ensure its implementation to guarantee the full respect of women’s rights in the workplace. The two organizations also call on the private sector and the international community to support initiatives aimed at ensuring the respects of the rights of women in the workplace in Bangladesh.

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