Silent Women: ARDD’s Report on harassment problem in the workplace

Report
from Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
Published on 02 Nov 2018 View Original

The report is one of the outcomes that are to be produced as part of the Ford Foundation project ‘Women’s Access to Economic Justice through Legal Empowerment’. It provides an in-depth analysis of harmful and discriminatory workplace practices in Jordan that are potentially hindering women from safely accessing the labour market, and works towards answering the overall project question: ‘How can refugee and host community women in Jordan be empowered to safely access the labour market and be able to confidently utilize the Jordanian legal system when rights are violated?.

Introduction:

A 2018 ARDD report entitled “Silent Women: an ARDD report on harassment in the workplace” found sexual harassment to be one of the main challenges facing women in the workplace today.

This issue cannot be viewed in isolation to other discriminatory and harmful workplace practices as it manifests in socio-cultural norms and becomes institutionalized in the workplace through gaps in the legal framework or in the law’s implementation. Given that the levels of women’s paid employment are so low and gender discrimination so high in a number of spheres, and with the increased focus on improving paid employment opportunities for both Jordanian and non-Jordanian women in Jordan, there is a need to look into the differing ways that Jordanians and non-Jordanians experience such discrimination in the workplace.

While both men and women can be perpetrators and targets of sexual harassment, women are more frequently targeted, to such an extent that many are deterred from accessing the labour market. Employers should have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their staff, and the government a duty to apply necessary policies to prevent and protect employees from sexual harassment and punish perpetrators. However, data gathered by ARDD and presented in its report “Silent Women” shows that this is not happening. Reported rates of sexual harassment are not the reality; rather gaps in the law, lack of workplace policies and social stigma create an enabling environment for sexual harassment, while deterring people from reporting cases.