BackgroundWomen in Myanmar face multiple challenges in voicing their needs and accessing basic social and workplace rights. They are among the most vulnerable workers and are concentrated in low productivity, low wage jobs that enjoy little protection. Women workers also have needs related to their reproductive capacities and family roles that may not be adequately met within the employment relationship. This situation has important repercussions not only for women themselves but also for key development outcomes such as the reduction of neonatal and under-5 mortality (SDG 3.2), improved child health, household income, and overall labour productivity. Increasing gender equality is of critical importance to the sustainable development of the economy as a whole and the garment sector in particular.
The available evidence shows that women in Myanmar have little knowledge about their rights in the workplace. Most workplaces give little attention to gender-specific needs like the protection of pregnant and breastfeeding workers, provision of breastfeeding facilities, child care or return to work policies. Women workers are particularly vulnerable to health risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding related to poor occupational health and safety practices.
Addressing these problems requires an approach that recognizes gaps in knowledge and practice while remaining sensitive to the social and cultural context.
The ILO’s project “Improving Labour Relations for Decent Work and Sustainable Development in the Myanmar Garment Industry” (ILO-GIP) focuses on delivering training and capacity-building on building sound industrial relations and social dialogue.
As part of its objectives, the project also includes a women’s health education programme in addition to other elements intended to address gender equality issues.
Workshop’s objectivesThe ILO-GIP has conducted a gender equality assessment in selected Myanmar garment factories with the goal of using this information to better design a relevant intervention programme aimed at empowering women workers to remove the most serious obstacles to their participation in social dialogue, and fully enjoying their rights at work.
During the workshop, the results of the gender equality assessment study will be presented to key stakeholders, who will be given the opportunity to discuss its results, as well as share their expertise. The ILO-GIP will widely compile and distribute the findings of its gender equality assessment of selected garment factories upon its finalization.