Published Date: Oct 31, 2019

In Bangladesh, most of the workers of readymade garment (RMG) industries are women. The workers of this sector are rarely aware of their rights, and hardly get any time for recreation due to workplace and family responsibility. Women’s Café is an innovative approach to create a breathing place for the women factory workers. They come to the space for acquiring knowledge on rights related issues, and share personal issues with other workers.

At the same time, they enjoy recreation for themselves. Women’s Café, with the help of ActionAid Bangladesh and funded by European Union, introduce a gender-friendly environment for female workers which

  1. Enables workers to interact with other workers, and share personal and workplace experiences.
  2. Provides information relating to labour law and worker’s rights.
  3. Creates opportunity to develop negotiation, dispute resolution and leadership skills.
  4. Provide advisory and legal services on the issue of workplace violence and sexual harassment, healthcare facilities and employment.
  5. Provides interactive games (carrom, Ludu) and recreational facilities for workers.
  6. Enables workers to participate in various socio-cultural activities.

Role of Women’s Café in Women Empowerment

The cafe is a crucial cog in women’s journey towards empowerment. Women receive orientation and leadership training at the café. It improves their knowledge about workers’ rights and entitlements and develops their confidence with negotiation, dispute resolution and leadership skills.

A Learning Space through Fun/Games

In women’s cafés, workers gather knowledge on different rights related issues through fun/ games e.g. Ludo game and carrom.The walls of the cafes are posted with posters, bright pictures, and helpful slogans about women’s rights, protection against discrimination, hygiene and safety standards. The posters, slogans and pictures are used as learning materials too.

Women’s Café: Participants Coverage

Under the SRAMIC project the ‘Women’s Café’ will reach directly to 10,000 workers of whom 85 percent would be women and a total of 100,000 workers would be reached through peer educator groups.

Women’s Café: Way Forward

• A management committee consisting of 7(Seven) members will be set up for each Women’s Café.
• AAB along with partner NGOs has planned to assign some legal advisors who will provide legal support to the workers of selected cafés.
• To increase productivity and secure livelihood, healthcare facility will be provided at Women’s Cafés.
• The Cafés will also be equipped with day care facilities to cater to the needs of the children of the workers.
• Women’s cafés will include some income generating activities and various socio cultural activities for empowering women.
• The workers will be able to create a complete accountability model / process in the women’s field for protecting their rights in garment, leather and tannery sectors.