However, ironically, women are those imposed with worst working conditions, taking greater risks of mental and physical safety, while, at the same time, suffering wage gap and career inequality. These conditions are even worsened with lack of female representation at consultation forums, worker-management committees and within the worker union committee.
With these changes, my subordinates have become more productive and our working flow is also smoother."Devi, a line leader of PT Leading Garment Industries
Shelly Woyla Marliane, BWI’s training team leader, explained that gender-based discrimination occurs from the recruitment process all the way to production process. “These poor working conditions are so normalized and very rarely addressed, making gender inequality the biggest elephant in the room for one of the most important export goods producers in the country,” she said.
Therefore, she added that the Respectful Workplace Programme (RWP) and Supervisory Skills Training (SST), encouraged workers to commit in creating positive differences at the workplace. Using interactive discussion, case study, reflection and simulation methods, the training programmes encourage trainees to address various sexual harassment issues and climb the hierarchical ladder at the factory level.
Up to 2021, BWI successfully conducted four batches of RWP training in 18 factories involving 70 participants, most of whom were women. After the training, some participants said that the knowledge they learned is not only applicable at the factory, but also at home and their community.
“Participants also gained new understanding that certain habits that were previously normalized fall, actually, within the spectrum of sexual harassment,” Shelly added.
In addition, the SST programme also encouraged factory supervisors and supervisor candidates to acquire professional leading skills. Although the majority of supervisors in Indonesian BWI garment factories are women, they generally are not trained on how to be effective and professional supervisors.
The agents of change should be those within the workplace. Thus, representatives of management and workers should work hand in hand in creating and achieving creating gender equality."Shelly Woyla Marliane, BWI’s training team leader
Devi, a line leader of PT Leading Garment Industries, admitted that that the SST helped her to be a better leader by controlling her negative emotions better. “My subordinates used to resent me, they said I couldn’t control my words. I used to hurt them to make them do what I say,” Devi said. After the training, she has now softened her choice of words and changed her tones. “With these changes, my subordinates have become more productive and our working flow is also smoother,” she added.
Shelly concluded that it is hoped that through this training programme, garment industry will be more supportive to workers’ rights and to be able to create fair and inclusive workplaces with strong social dialogues and workers’ empowerment. “The agents of change should be those within the workplace. Thus, representatives of management and workers should work hand in hand in creating and achieving creating gender equality.”