The ActionAid report claims female workers in Myanmars garment industry are discriminated against

The ActionAid report claims female workers in Myanmar's garment industry are discriminated against

The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association has hit back at a report from international NGO ActionAid alleging female workers in the country's garment industry are subject to discrimination.

ActionAid's June report, titled Safety Audit Report Launch on Women Garment Factory Workers in Yangon, claims around 300,000 people work across 440 garment factories in Myanmar. Female workers it suggests, "are experiencing discrimination inside and outside their houses and [are victims of] unfair labour practice."

The report aims to improve occupational safety and security through its recommendations including mainstreaming gender in garment factories.

Last week, however, MGMA shared its thoughts on the report, which it said did "not accurately reflect the reality of the current situation."

MGMA said the report carried "irrelevant points" including its comments on the safety of women, which concerned "women as a whole" rather than just the garment sector.

It also said the ActionAid report covered fewer than 4% of MGMA's member factories so it did not have enough data to make "strong conclusions." 

The Association also criticised the report's detail on sexual violence against women in cities, which it said could lead to a misleading view of the sector; that the workers who participated in the study were not randomly selected, so did not represent all women factory workers in Yangon; and said there were inconsistencies between the report's title and the full report.

"MGMA is trying its best to improve its responsible business conduct (RBC and CSR) as well as product quality and production capacity to streamline [itself] into the global market," it says.

"However, we recognise that there are limitations and some shortcomings. Therefore, MGMA has set out a homegrown code of conduct and is implementing our 10-year strategic plan in a systematic way. Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association and our members will be working with development partners and social partners to realise our targeted goal."