Protecting Female Workers' Rights in India

30-08-2017

On 10-11 August FTA held two events in India aimed to raise awareness on the issue of preventing sexual harassment in supply chains in India. With the Indian law on ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace’ approved in 2013 as a backdrop,  FTA engaged with over 100 participants -including FTA members, local producers and key stakeholders- to identify main challenges and potential solutions to address this critical matter.

FTA-FWF Producer Forum, 10 August

This meeting, organised in collaboration with Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), brought together FTA producers in India and facilitated a platform to interact and voice their challenges. During discussions, the increasing spotlight on this issue -especially in the apparel sector- and the business and human rights imperative to mitigate it were seen as critical by Indian factories.

Key findings demonstrated the lack of awareness on the law, challenges in formulating the Internal Complaints Committees (ICC’s) and the need of effective measures at the factory floor that could support and protect the rights of female workers towards ensuring their broader empowerment.

Member & Stakeholder Consultation, 11 August

FTA members and local and international stakeholders including UN Women, Fair Wear Foundation, SWASTI India, Lawyers Collective, UNICEF, Fair Labor Association (FLA) and CIVIDEP India participated in this meeting, which kickstarted with a presentation on the 2013 Indian law by Lawyers Collective (a leading NGO in India which promotes human rights issues, especially those related to women's rights). This introduction was instrumental in creating an in-depth awareness of the Indian Laws and Internal ICC’s norms to be implemented in factories and was followed by a collective brainstorming exercise that delved into the root cause of the issue and the generation.

The event provided a strategic platform to engage in dialogue and develop concrete and practical steps to tackle sexual harassment, which was much appreciated by businesses, and further strengthened FTA’s long-term work in India to develop an impactful initiative to empower women in supply chains.  

Based on the feedback from the Member & Stakeholder Consultation as well as the feedback from the Producer Forum, FTA aims to begin an awareness raising programme for factory managers and supervisors on the Indian law, it’s relevant content for businesses and implications for non-compliance.

The report of the event will be published shortly.

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