Experts for steps to check sexual harassments in workplaces

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DHAKA, Sept 5, 2018 (BSS) – Rumpa Islam recently got a job at a multi-national company as an executive officer after obtaining MBA degree from the Finance and Banking Department of a private university.

On the first day of her job, many colleagues congratulated her. One of them told her to see their company’s managing director (MD) at his room to give thanks. Accordingly, Rumpa went to her MD’s room. When she entered the room, the MD said, “We had been looking for a girl like you for a long time. Please be seated.”

Rumpa listened to him for a while. She was shocked to hear some words used by her boss to appreciate her beauty. She came back to her desk and decided to leave the job.

In another incident, Jobaida joined a garment factory. She worked their hardly as her husband was physically disabled after a tragic road accident.

After three months of her joining, the manager of her garment factory asked Jobaida to go his room. While she entered the room, he (manager) tried to abuse her. Later, she left the room forcibly.

Bangladesh, recently, has achieved the eligibility to graduate to a developing country from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status. The women empowerment in economic sector has played an important role in this regard. A total of 34 percent GDP (Gross Domestic Products) has been earned by the working women.

A study shows that around 18.4 million women are engaged in female labour market. But it is hard to say that many of them are not safe at their workplace till now.

Another study shows that around 78 percent women faces sexual harassment in Dhaka city in their workplaces, roads and transports.

Of them, many women don’t want to raise their voices against the abuses. Besides, many women leave their jobs.

In the garment sector, only 2.2 percent women raise their voices against the sexual harassment.

Advocate Monowara Haque said the sexual abuse is a criminal offense. The High Court declared a policy on May 14 in 2009 against the sexual harassment in workplaces.

According the policy, there will have to be a committee in every office comprising five members to receive complaints. A woman will be the head of the committee. The committee can include skilled and experienced ones from outside, if needed. The information of the victim will be kept secret and the committee will complete the probe.

But the reality is different. Many offices have no such committees.

Mahmudur Rahman, a human right activist, said pressure will have to be given to create such committees at all offices. Everyone should become more conscious about the sexual harassment of women.

 

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