CENSEL in Dominican Republic
CENSEL, an NGO founded in 1984, works to eradicate social, legal, economic and political discrimination against women and their families, and to facilitate women’s access to social-juridical training. The organization provides legal assistance for low income victims, trains legal promoters and educators, and raises awareness of the problem of discrimination against women in the workplace and in society. CENSEL has held trainings, workshops and courses aimed at preventing and decreasing the incidence of discrimination and sexual harassment affecting Dominican women workers in Santo Domingo. CENSEL also strives to engage in meetings with the Ministry of labor and union leaders, in order to coordinate strategic actions to prevent labor discrimination amongst women in the workplace.
Under a recent ILRF funded program, CENSEL has targeted women workers from shirt, pant and bathing suit factories, producing for local consumption and exporting to Korea, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Most of the workplace environments are characterized by huge gender discrepancies wherein women – who comprise the majority of the workforce - are never visible in management or supervisory positions. In addition to the above, CENSEL has distributed materials surrounding its broader campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace to employees and supervisors.
CENSEL’s programs and efforts have resulted in reduced levels of sexual violence in the workplace; trainings focused on sexual violence; maternity rights and improved salaries and working conditions. Amongst other things, trainings have also helped workers to better realize their right to organize. It is also notable that in the case of many of CENSEL’s recent trainings, managers and factory operators have not resisted CENSEL’s efforts and have permitted the distribution of materials, even allowing trainings to be conducted outside the factories on the weekends. Encouraged by these results, CENSEL plans to continue to train and guide the women that participated in the programs, and to encourage other women to engage in the issues at hand.