Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 26: Reproductive and sexual health

HealthWiki > Workers' Guide to Health and Safety > Chapter 26: Reproductive and sexual health

a doctor speaking to a pregnant woman while taking an X-ray of her womb; she asks herself a question; a sign hangs on the wall.
You use chemicals at work? Your PPE will protect you.
But what will protect my baby?

-small babies

Department of Industrial Hygiene 2015

The majority of workers in export factories, both women and men, are of the age when they are sexually active and raising a family. But instead of taking into account these central activities of people’s lives, the conditions in many factories can make pregnancy difficult, cause birth defects, and lead to reproductive cancers and illnesses for young workers. Even though it is against national and international labor and health standards, factories are dangerous to workers’ reproductive and sexual health.

Workers need factories that:

  • do not discriminate against, penalize, or fire women who get pregnant or have children
  • provide maternity and paternity leave, and time off for parents to care for children when necessary
  • improve working conditions and replace chemicals that harm men’s and women’s reproductive health
  • make access easy to on-site or nearby quality health clinics and childcare centers

This page was updated:28 Feb 2021