Cambodia Factories Failing Female Textile Workers

Enfants & Développement has been engaged in the Kompong Speu province of Cambodia since 2006. For the better part of our work there, it was concerned with promoting maternal, neonatal and reproductive health education. Yet as the years went on, there was a shift in family life, where more and more women at childbearing age were working in the factories as opposed to leading lives raising children in the traditional setting. In reaction to this and in an attempt to adjust interventions to this changing region, Enfants & Développement conducted interviews in order to understand current knowledge and practice of reproductive and maternal health as well as working conditions and access to healthcare.
Studies by Enfants & Développement in collaboration with the NGO GRET have shown that the Cambodian Labor Laws are being neglected in textile factories. Four hundred forty interviews with female garment workers (FGW), who overwhelmingly make up the workforce population of these factories, were conducted and the findings state that women have inadequate access to healthcare during and after pregnancy. The laws require the manufacturing facilities to provide healthcare services for their workforces such as infirmaries and maternal/reproductive health plans. Once they have over 50 employees, these services are mandated. However, these facilities and services, according to the interviews conducted, are found to be miniscule, mismanaged and even absent.
NGOs such as Gender and Development Cambodia, spoke out saying that the child rearing practices of 50 years ago, where old mothers took care of the children at home, are no longer prevalent. These practices are obsolete with the contemporary working mother populations. They even went on to say that the managers of these facilities need to provide these services to ensure economic growth going into the future.
With this research, Enfants & Développement seeks to begin programs for the needs of the FGWs in this province. We aim to begin the implementation of meeting FGW needs such as access to healthcare, access to basic facilities such as infirmaries, education on reproductive health, improvement of workplace conditions, amongst many other needs through stakeholder engagement activities and agreements with local manufacturers and FGWs of the region.
To learn more about this issue and our efforts, please contact us at

For further information on the research that was conducted please click below. We would like to thank our E&D Team in Cambodia for providing us with the data to bring us forward on this issue.

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