More than five years have passed since the great uprising began. Women in countless professions have come together and testified about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
For many, #metoo has become a wake-up call and insight into just how prevalent these issues are, not least in our workplaces.
Since then, a lot has happened. Many workplaces have stepped up efforts to prevent harassment and to protect vulnerable women. Despite this, sexual harassment remains an ongoing problem.
Women who work in insecure jobs are the most affected
We see links about how the risk of sexual harassment increases based on reluctance to take employer responsibility and the form of employment. At the very least, we see that women who work in insecure jobs run a higher risk of workplace harassment.
It concerns store clerks who work involuntary hourly contracts, waitresses with seasonal jobs and nurse’s aides who work on a temporary basis.
LO’s latest measure of gender equality shows that women in laboring occupations are the most insecure jobs.
Six in ten are missing out on a full-time, permanent job and plenty of work without knowing when their next shift will be. It is an unsustainable situation that often means stressing over the difficulty of planning one’s life, but above all on what is on the last line of the next pay envelope.
It is difficult to speak without a permanent job
Not having a secure, permanent job also means that your dependency status becomes very different and the step of speaking up and reporting problems can feel bigger.
This is precisely what causes women in insecure jobs to be at greater risk of sexual harassment.
At the same time, reports show that only four out of every ten women who work temporarily have received information from their employer on how to proceed if they have been harassed.
It is the employer’s responsibility to act preventively, but also to ensure that women at risk have access to help and support, which goes beyond “talking to your boss”, as in some cases the manager may be the problem.
In order to end women’s abuse and harassment, we of course need to go beyond employer responsibility and form of employment.
What tone is allowed in the staff room?
It’s about the permissible tone in the staff room and the permissible standards for controlling workplace culture.
Here, there is a need for training for employers, chief protection officers and staff, but there is also a need for an ongoing dialogue in society about the acceptance of the standards.
This week, the amendments to the European Parliament’s report on sexual harassment and the handling of #metoo will be presented.
It is about seeing the progress that has been made in recent years, but above all having the courage to see that we have a long way to go before we reach workplaces devoid of evidence of abuse and harassment.
Unsafe work often coincides with sexual harassment and both must be opposed.
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