Gender Commission pushes for the criminalisation of sexual harassment

By ZBC Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission is pushing for the enactment of legislation that criminalises sexual harassment and gender-based violence at the workplace.

The criminalisation of sexual harassment at the workplace is expected to further boost the country’s commitment to ending all forms of violence against women.

This was revealed by Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Commissioner Dr Nyepudzai Nyangulu at the launch of the strategy for the elimination of sexual harassment and gender-based violence at the workplace aimed at creating a safe working environment for all.

“The strategy’s objectives are to increase reporting of GBV (Gender-Based Violence) and sexual harassment cases in the workplace; facilitate the development of anti-GBV and sexual harassment policies at the company, sectoral and national levels; influence promulgation of a legal instrument that criminalises sexual harassment and others,” said Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Commissioner, Dr Nyepudzai Nyangulu.

It was also emphasised that violence and harassment at the workplace is a violation of human rights.

“Human rights lie at the core of the Agenda 2030 and if we are going to realize the SDGs in a way that leaves no one behind, the human right obligations must be met. Violence and harassment undermines the attainment of decent work and affects not only social relationships in the workplace, but also negatively impacts productivity and the personal trajectory of the victim’s career,” said International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Hopolang Phororo.

Labour unions present at the launch confirmed that sexual harassment and GBV in the workplace is still rampant with students on attachment the most affected.

According to the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, violence and sexual harassment at the workplace includes threats of loss of employment, gender discrimination in promotions and placements, emotional abuse in the form of intimidation, threats and demeaning words.

It also includes sextortion, touching, unwelcome advances, sexual advances both verbal and physical abuse, sexual subjective comments and indecent exposure.