Sexual harrassment at work: Women unaware - Violence against women

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Sexual harrassment at work: Women unaware


© UN Photo/Mark Garden - Sexual harrassment at work: Women unaware
© UN Photo/Mark Garden
Violence against women at work is the only form of violence against women which is addressed legally by the European Union.

But while legal frameworks are well in place, sexual harassment and discrimination at work remain one of the big taboos of our societies. 

Across Europe, our readers consider sexual harassment, discrimination and work place bullying as expressions of violence against them.

However, only a small number of participants in our survey on violence (an average of two-five percent) claim that to have been affected by it.

Pierrette Pape from EWL disagrees: “It might be a matter of definition. Traditionally male dominated structures and behaviours at work, coupled with liberal values such as competition, profit-led activities on the labour market, trivialise male violence at work or in situations related to work and therefore make it very difficult for women to detect and denounce such violence.”

A recent European survey showed that more than three times as many female as male employees report having experienced sexual harassment in the previous 12 months.

According to the EU, sexual harassment is discrimination on the grounds of sex and therefore prohibited. Women should become more aware of their situation at work to actually identify and recognise violence and marginalisation.

The survey: Who participated?

In total 3,262 women from France, Germany, UK, Spain and Italy participated in the survey. 

The majority of participants were between 25 and 49 years old and earn an average of £2,000-£3,000 per month.

Around half of the women have children.

The survey was being conducted within two weeks leading up to 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Find out more:


Shila Meyer Behjat
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