Violence and harassment in the world of work remains a widespread issue. Violations of workers’ rights are present in all countries, across sectors, occupations and working arrangements. Given its global prevalence, it comes as no surprise that violence and harassment are found throughout the garment industry.
The garment industry provides employment to an estimated 75 million people from the global south. About 75% of these workers are women, often in lower paid positions. Women in particular often have limited bargaining power and are disproportionately affected by violence and harassment, including sexual harassment.
Ending violence and harassment against women in the garment sector requires a multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional approach that addresses legal, institutional, workplace and societal dynamics. At Fair Wear, we have developed supplier guidance on addressing violence and harassment at the factory level. This guideline is based on OECD Guidelines, Fair Wear Foundation’s Code of Labour Practices and is designed to support member suppliers together with brands address and remediate violence and harassment at the factory level. The document represents minimum standards for suppliers to use to address violence and harassment in their workplace. It should be adapted to incorporate national legislation and policies.
The aim of the supplier guidance on addressing violence and harassment is –
- To support factory compliance with national and international regulations and standards
- To increase supplier knowledge on addressing violence and harassment in the world of work
- To help suppliers establish a system at the factory level to identify, prevent, and remediate incidences of violence and harassment, particularly gender-based violence (GBV)
SIX STEPS TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IN FACTORIES
- The first step is to Embed a factory-wide approach to address violence and harassment in policies and management systems
- Second step is to Identify potential and actual cases of violence and harassment through conducting gender-responsive risk assessments in the factory.
- Third step is to Cease, prevent, or mitigate behaviours linked to increased risks of violence and harassment
- Fourth step is to Track the progress of the workplan to cease, prevent or mitigate risks.
- Fifth step is to Communicate the progress made. Suppliers can communicate their progress to workers, unions and subcontractors, brands, and auditors. Further demonstrating their commitment to addressing violence and harassment.
- Sixth step is Allegations of violence and harassment should be prioritized for investigation and remediation in accordance with national laws.
In each step and where possible, engage with brands, factory management, local government, and workers representatives and disseminate information about the progress made.
To read the supplier guidance document, click here.
For more guidance on the national level, refer to the Fair Wear Gender Country Fact Sheets.