Learning activity 6.1
Mapping the world of work


This Learning Activity will take place in small groups of 4-5 people. It is based on a scenario, which will show different areas of the world of work where women factory workers are at risk of sexual harassment. The exercise can be adapted to a farm environment.

Suggested time

60-90 minutes

Target group

  • Stakeholders involved in developing and implementing workplace gender-based violence programmes.
  • Programme managers, factory/farm managers and supervisors.
  • Representatives from global, national and local employers and trade unions.
  • Representatives from local, national and local NGOs and women’s organizations.


  • Identify the different areas of the world of work where there is a risk of sexual harassment.
  • Evaluate potential solutions to problems identified.


  • Prepare a copy of the scenario for each groups.
  • Find and reproduce a map of a factory or farm.

Information Sheet 5 provides a printed map of a factory and farm for groups that can be used and adapted. However, participants drawing their own maps are likely to provoke more discussion.


Any room large enough to accommodate several groups.


  • Copies of scenario
  • Flip-charts or large sheets of paper where to draw the map.
  • Post-it cards
  • Pens (make sure to have red pens as well as black or blue ones)


Step 1: (suggested time: 15 minutes)

Split into small groups of 4-5 people. Start by reading the scenario below.


Meenah is 24 years of age and is a mother of two young children and her friend Shereen is 22 years old and single. They both work in a garment factory producing dresses for several well-known brands.  Meenah starts her day by passing the children to her mother and getting the bus to work. She works on a production line that is mostly women; supervisors are all male. Production targets are prominently listed on the factory wall on a big sign; toilets are up two flights of stairs and are not always open. Near the toilets is the dispatch room where five men pack up the orders for dispatch. Meenah meets her friend Shereen for lunch. Over lunch her friend tells her that she is working by a window in the finishing section of the factory and a male machinist working in the next-door factory constantly makes sexual comments and sexually suggestive remarks. When they have eaten lunch they wash their plates and hands at a communal tap in a crowded area at the back of the factory. The factory doors are kept closed. They return to the production line where the supervisor is worried that they are not working fast enough and not meeting their targets. The supervisor will loose his incentive pay if the order is not ready for dispatch that evening.

At the end of the day Meenah queues up with the other workers to tag off, it is a cramped space and everyone, including supervisors, are standing closely together. A male worker near her stands very close. She waits in a long queue for the bus – when she gets on it is very crowded, with a lot of noisy men who got on at the factory further up the road.

Meenah’s friend Shereen has to work late because the order has not been completed. The manager and supervisor are there and only a few other women. During the evening the manager calls Shereen into his office and closes the door. When she is allowed to go home, because it is late and dark, the supervisor is asked by the manager to chaperone her back to the accommodation for single workers, owned by the employer. There is poor lighting on the route home and the supervisor sits too near to her in the taxi. When she gets to her door, the supervisor helps her out but detains her before she can go in.

Step 2: (suggested time: 30 minutes)

  • In small groups draw an outline or map of a factory (real or imaginary) and mark with the red pens the danger points, where verbal and physical abuse or sexually harassment are likely. Remember there are many different forms of sexual harassment – verbal, physical, inappropriate contact, and coercive sex/sexual abuse.
  • In a discussion about why and where women could be at risk of sexual harassment (noting the different types of harassment to which they may be subjected) suggest practical ways to reduce the risk.
  • Identify the various organizational issues that might exacerbate the incidence of harassment (e.g. late night shifts or workspaces in the factory).
  • Next, hold a short discussion about how the factory should deal with danger points. Identify any specific challenges.

Step 3: (suggested time: 30 minutes)

  • Each group will give a 5-minute explanation of their map to the whole group and propose three key action points for the factory (or farm) to resolve problems identified (for example, to train more female supervisors, ensure factory gates are arranged so that women exiting the factory are not ‘mobbed’ or followed by male colleagues).

How to adapt it

  • The activity can easily be adapted to a farm or plantation setting (see outline map of a farm in this Resource Kit).
  • If there is insufficient time, if the group is small or if the group will benefit from the input of a facilitator, the activity can be carried out through a facilitated discussion in the full group. The maps contained in the Information Sheet s can either be projected onto a screen and/or provided in a paper format.


  • Use the maps contained in the Resource Kit and encourage participants to further develop the map through their own drawings.
  • Encourage participants to always identify a solution when a problem is identified.