In this project, Awaj Foundation will be working with violence against women workers, especially in the Ready Made Garments sector of Bangladesh. There are about 2.5 million workers in the RMG sector, about 80% of whom are women aged between 16-25 years. They are institutionally uneducated, economically poor and socially vulnerable. Women garment workers are the main force for foreign currency earnings in Bangladesh, which is a major contributor to our economy. But the position of the women garment workers are getting worst day by day.
Awaj Foundation is a workers' rights organization that has been working with workers' rights issues, giving awareness and capacity building training, legal aid on family and labour law, and health care to ready made garments workers of Bangladesh since 2003.
Awaj plans to implement this project, with the $5,000 from Ashoka and Campus of Excellence to give awareness training to 300 Ready Made Garments Workers on (a) Family Law (b) Gender Equity. 18 trainings will be given on each topic (total 36) over a period of 6 months. After this, this pilot project will be scaled up through partnership and networking with owners associations such as BGMEA, BKMEA, buyers, other development and non-profit agencies.
This is an innovative project, as many workers' rights organizations working in this sector concentrate on awareness training and capacity building of workers regarding labour law issues but fall behind on other gender violence issues these workers face. Awaj's legal cell faces complains from many workers regarding family violence, dowry, and alimony related violence issues, problems women face regarding eve teasing, gender equity, sexual harrassment and violence, among others. Many women are unable to exercise their legal family rights simply because they did not know that they need to register their marriage. Awaj thus feels, the rising need to aware workers: mostly female but also male (for gender awareness) on their legal rights regarding family law, as well as aware them about gender equity.