For more than 15 years, CARE has been supporting women to earn an income, secure a job and get new opportunities to improve their lives. We know from our work throughout the developing world that women in poor communities are among the most vulnerable to abuse and have some of the most inadequate legal protections.
We work closely with employers, to ensure women are protected in their workplaces, and with community leaders to challenge social norms and promote changes to policies and laws.
CARE supports women to advocate for workplace rights for themselves and others. From domestic workers in Ecuador to garment factory workers in Cambodia, we are helping women fight for safety and respect.
Alicia - domestic worker, Cotacachi, Ecuador
Like many girls in Ecuador, Alicia started working at a young age. By the time she was 14, she had left the Andean mountains to work as a cook, nanny and maid for a family in neighbouring Colombia.
Her employers withheld payment as a means of controlling her, and tried to pressure her to have sex, which she resisted. “They told me I needed to have sex with the man in order to get paid,” she says.
Alicia now participates in a program in which CARE educates communities about women’s rights and values, and offers women training in advocacy, financial management, and political organising. CARE supports women in these organisations to create their own change, and break down the barriers that have kept women trapped in the cycle of poverty.
Alicia wants her story to reach others, the next generation, and daughters like hers.
“It is good to talk about our experiences,” she says. “It is good to release our pain. That’s what makes us stronger.”
Navy - doctor in a factory, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Navy joined a committee in her workplace where CARE taught her how to deal with sexual harassment at work.
“I want to help women.… I can help spread the awareness about sexual harassment here.”
“I've seen many inappropriate actions… they said they were just joking. However, I still felt it was wrong.”
Navy says that the training she received from CARE has helped her understand the importance of speaking up against harassment.
“Before becoming a committee member, I didn't dare tell people about my thoughts.”
Navy adds that most women in her factory would keep the harassment to themselves. But through her teaching, Navy is helping her colleagues understand their rights and the best ways to stand up to harassment.
Bopha - garment factory worker, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
18-year-old Bopha has been subjected to verbal and physical harassment at the factory she works in.
One man, who she considered a friend, would criticise her appearance.
“He said to me, ‘Why do you dress like this?’ I don't like being questioned like this. He said, ‘You are already ugly. Trying to be pretty is futile… Nobody will love you.’ I was very upset by that comment.”
Bopha didn't say anything though, because she was uncertain of what support existed in the factory for women who are being harassed.
“I didn't know about sexual harassment, and I was new to the workplace. I didn't know there could be sexual harassment in the factory.”
“I joined training from CARE about sexual harassment. They came to the factory and asked me to join. I learned that there are many forms of sexual harassment. It includes touching, talking, and other actions.”
Thanks to the training, the women in Bopha’s factory now know who to talk to and what will happen when they report harassment and abuse.