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Experts: Implementing laws can prevent gender based violence at workplace

  • Published at 08:35 pm May 4th, 2019
Experts are having discussion Dhaka Tribune

ActionAid Bangladesh organized a program titled “Women-friendly Safe Workplace” campaign at Gulshan Shooting Club on Saturday

Lack of proper implementation of existing laws against sexual harassment is the key issue in gender based violence at workplace, said experts at an event for women empowerment.

ActionAid Bangladesh organized a program titled “Women-friendly Safe Workplace” campaign at Gulshan Shooting Club on Saturday.  

Despite having several laws to protect women in workplace, there is a serious lack of proper enforcement of those laws, said Taslima Yasmin, who teaches law at Dhaka University.   

While giving a presentation on national instrument on gender based violence at workplace, she also pointed out the lack of legal protection against gender based violence for person with disability and LGBTQ community as well.

She said a study conducted by Shojag coalition reported that 22% of female garment workers are exposed to physical, psychological, and sexual harassment at work. And 67% of them do not seek support from the violence against women committee at their workplace due to lack of trust.

While moderating a panel discussion on gender based violence at workplace, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir, said there is no comprehensible definition of sexual harassment in our existing laws.  

Deputy High Commissioner of Australian High Commission in Bangladesh, Penny Morton, said: “The underlying cause of gender based violence is gender inequality.”

Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation President Nazma Akter said wage gap between male and female workers is the root cause of all violence and injustice against women workers.

Rokeya Kabir, executive director of Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, said most trade unions are still heavily male dominated although female labourers at the workforce have increased significantly.

Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir said gender based violence against domestic workers needs to be included in the laws as well.

Dr Mollah Jalal Uddin, additional secretary of the development wing of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, said gender based violence at workplace is not acceptable in any form. Alongside implementing laws, people need to change their mindset to combat gender based violence at work, he added.  

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Director Mohammad Abdul Momen, and International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office Skills project Chief Technical Adviser Kishore Kumar Singh, were also present at the program as panelists.

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