Speakers at a press conference yesterday demanded that anti-harassment committees (AHC) are formed at all ready-made garment (RMG) factories, to protect women from sexual harassment in their workplace.
Karmojibi Nari, in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) organised the event at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
The High Court (HC) issued a directive to form sexual harassment complaint committees at every workplace and institution in 2009, but only a few factories have complied, said speakers.
According to a 2018 study by MJF conducted at RMG factories, around 42.33 percent women said they experienced sexual advances at workplace, 23.28 percent said they were inappropriately touched by male colleagues in excuse of showing work, and 14.29 percent faced unwelcome touching.
The RMG garment industry is the key sector of Bangladesh's economy, where women contribute a major portion of the economic growth, said Rokeya Rafique, executive director of Karmojibi Nari.
Many factories are considering fire safety measures, and even increasing wage of the workers, but there has been little or no discussion about sexual harassment in workplaces, she said while reading out a statement.
She said to address sexual harassment, factory owners should comply with the directives of the HC.
Lawmaker Shirin Akhter said more preventive measures should be taken to end sexual harassment in workplace. She said in the RMG factory, women are the majority, so they can collectively work together and raise voice against sexual harassment.
Rina Roy, director (programme) at MJF, said monitoring through the AHCs could help bring down incidents of sexual harassment in RMG factories.