Toilets and other necessities: A factory case

At a factory in Bangladesh, there are only 5 toilets. These must be shared by the roughly 1120 women who work on the factory floor every day.  The problem is made worse by the fact that they get limited breaks during the working hours. Very often, there is a long line of women who are waiting to use the toilets. They have to wait, and the factory loses valuable production time.

Unfortunately this happens more often than we think. This lack of accommodation is a clear example of discrimination, and it can have terrible consequences for the health and safety of women. For example, women who are not permitted enough bathroom breaks can get infections as a result.

In this case, the factory’s Anti-harassment Committee investigated the complaint, and collected suggestions from the workers, which helped solve the problem. The factory workers recommended setting up two more toilets, and found a location where the women would be comfortable and feel safe. The Anti-harassment Committee then met with top management at the factory, and worked toward the approval the construction of the new bathroom stalls.

Collaborating with the Anti-harassment Committee allowed the factory management to improve productivity, because women took shorter breaks and appreciated having more bathroom stalls.

This and other cases presented in the portal are based on real situations that have been reported through FWF’s complaints hotline. Read more about the complaints procedure.

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