Violence against women at the workplace: Needs proper attention

Nishat Anjum Lia

Violence against women has a negative impact on a women physical and mental health and well-being. Individuals have a right to feel safe and secure, and when that right is not provided, people’s ability to function in their family, community, and society is likely to suffer, as is their ability to realise their own potential and grow as individuals.

Instances of violence against women in the workplace include bullying and physical and verbal abuse by employees, supervisors, and managers of women in their workplace. Unwelcome sexual approaches and harassment are only a few instances of what constitutes sexual harassment. Sexual abuse and violence include “coercive” or “transactional” sex, rape, and sexual assault, to name a few categories. There are many types of violence against women that can happen in the workplace. These types of abuse can happen in many ways, including physical, psychological, sexual, social and economic abuse.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of worldwide recommendations for resolving the global issues that the international community is now facing. It is about better preserving the natural underpinnings of life and our planet for everyone and everywhere, as well as ensuring that people’s opportunities to live in dignity and affluence are protected for future generations to benefit from these opportunities. Gender equality is one of the 17 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. Gender equality, on the other hand, can only be achieved if gender-based violence is stopped, which can be done by making the workplace safe.

Research by Karmojibi Nari and CARE Bangladesh found that approximately 12.7 per cent of female employees are subjected to sexual harassment at their places of employment. Regardless of their profession (for example, police officers) or where they live, we live in a society where a significant proportion of women are victims of gender-based violence (in urban or rural areas). We strongly believe that it is past time for members of civil society to come together to discuss workplace harassment and devise strategies for eradicating the problem. During the survey period, 22.96 per cent of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment once, 41.48 per cent said they had experienced it twice or three times, 25.93 per cent said they had experienced it four to five times, and 8.89 per cent said they had experienced it six to ten times.

Eighty per cent of garment factory workers in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, including 181 women, responded to a poll conducted by the global justice organisation. Respondents said they had either been sexually harassed or seen someone else being sexually harassed or abused at work.

Despite the fact that both the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 (BLA) and the Penal Code, 1860 contain provisions that address workplace violence and harassment, these statutes are fragmented and do not address all aspects of the issue. According to the National Organization for Women, these policies do not effectively address sexual harassment and are ineffectual when it comes to reducing workplace violence and harassment. According to Section 332 of the BLA, no person employed by any institution should behave in a manner that is unmannerly or derogatory to the modesty or honour of a female employee employed by such an establishment. Several misunderstandings exist concerning who qualifies as a “worker,” as stated in the preamble of the Labour Act of 2006, which states that it only applies to “workers.”

The government of Bangladesh has previously passed several laws to protect women from gender-based violence, so why is the ratio increasing? In Bangladesh, it is past time to address the core causes of the issue. Women should be educated and self-sufficient in order for society to progress economically and socially. Illiteracy is at the basis of the issue, and it poses obstacles to being self-sufficient. Everyone should raise their voices in support of interrupting sexist and discriminatory language, with women being the first to do so. Women should be aware of human rights education, and it should be widely disseminated in the public arena. Following the provisions of the Labor Act 2006, workplace safety and a secure environment should be guaranteed. Bangladesh has enacted a plethora of legislation on this subject, and it is now up to the government to put the legislation into effect.

Women are making significant contributions to Bangladesh’s development process in every field, yet many are mistreated and do not feel secure in their workplaces as a result. If this scenario is allowed to continue, it will be impossible to prevent violence. violence against women in the workplace may be avoided through participating in peace and democratic processes as well as by compensating those who are victims of such violence. If this occurs, Bangladesh will experience substantial economic and social development.

(The author Nishat Anjum Lia is a law student at the University of Asia Pacific)