Dr. Prabha Manuratne said that giving value to women’s labor in an anesthetized society and building a society that respects women’s rights is a difficult task. However, the role of all of us at the moment is to fight for it, she said, adding that the fight to give due value to women’s labor should not be limited to International Women’s Day. Dr. She expressed these views while participating with the International Women’s Day celebrations held on March 07 in Katunayake. The commemoration was organized by the Da Bindu Collective with the participation of many working women in the Free Trade Zone.
Speaking at the event, MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said that the commitment to give equal rights to women was not on the agenda of the current rulers. She added that working women in the trade zones are facing the regretful situatin of having to cry in front of factory managers to demand bonus money to provide school equipment for their child.
Speaking on the occasion, Chamila Thushari, Program Manager, Da Bindu Collective, said that despite the fact that the garment factories are making a profit, they are slashing employee privileges under the guise of the covid epidemic. She added that women workers are the most affected. She said that workers in garment factories in the North were harassed using language and do not even receive proper sanitation facilities.
Working women in free trade zones including Katunayake and Biyagama who were present at the event also expressed their views and said that the pressure they are facing is unbearable. They said they work in garment factories because there is no other way to make a living and appreciate the commitment that the Da Bindu Collective makes to them in difficult times.
A worker from the Katunayake Free Trade Zone said that when she was quarantined for 22 days due to the covid 19, the factory provided only 03 kilos of rice.