Ombudsman Office KP & UN women launch toolkit to address sexual nuisance at workplace

PHOTO: World Bank Blogs
By: Farzana Ali Khan

PESHAWAR: Office of the Ombudsperson for protection against harassment of women at the workplace, in collaboration with UN Women Pakistan, has launched the resource toolkit has been launched on “Understanding Sexual Harassment, Legal Provisions, Roles of Duty Bearers and Right Holders” with an objective to provide comprehensive information that can be used to train and capacitate inquiry committee members and other stakeholders on the law and redressal mechanisms for dispensation of justice to victims of sexual harassment at workplace.

The toolkit has been developed with the specialized support of UN Women Pakistan.

The harassment not only abuse a woman physically but also psychologically along with the defamation of the victims family, while it’s consequences also negatively impact communities at large.

Protection against harassment of women at the workplace is an area of priority for both the entities to ensure a safe and secure working environment. Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in partnership with UN women Pakistan, is working to implement the legislation through strengthening existing mechanisms, raising awareness, producing knowledge products and enhancing the capacity of  Ombudsperson Office and other public and private sectors on the effective implementation and monitoring of the law to take effective measures for ending harassment at the workplace.

The Ombudsperson KP Rukhshanda Naz said, “Our emphasis is on the execution and smooth implementation of the Workplace Harassment Law to make sure that the environment is safe for women to reach their full potential and contribute to the economy.”

Aisha Mukhtar, Country Representative a.e. UN Women Pakistan, said, “Sexual harassment at workplace is a pervasive issue that hampers women’s economic empowerment and their access to employment opportunities.

The crime affects not only victims and their families but also the whole economy in the form of decline in productivity and job losses.

It is encouraging to see more women speaking up about their experiences of sexual harassment and there is a need to enhance the capacities of institutions to effectively respond to complaints.

 She emphasized that in order to expand economic opportunities for women and increase women’s labor force participation; we must endeavor to make workplaces safer for women. This toolkit is an important step towards achieving this goal.

Due to the current challenging situation of COVID-19 emergency and tense work environment, the availability of toolkit will be instrumental in curtailing the incidence of violence against women.

The virtual launch of  toolkit was attended by government officials, members of civil societies, national and international humanitarian organizations, representatives from academia and people from different spheres of life from across the country.