Sexual Harassment At Workplace: Women Still Feeling The Pinch

Though Cameroon’s current labour code does not handle such concerns, the ILO condemns this vice in its Violence and Harassment Convention.

 “My boss started making advances at me the day I set foot in his company. I tried to resist for a while but realised that I may sell my dignity just for money,” a lady who sort not to be named narrated. “I looked at the family looking up to me and the decision to quit my job was a difficult one to take. I finally did and got back to the streets,” she further recounted. Talk to several working class women, their testimonies are similar but may differ in terms of their reactions. The situation has become more preoccupying as the job market tightens. Some are even denied juicy jobs, notwithstanding their competence, because they refused to let their backs on the ground. Some have been sacked unjustly for the same purpose, and the list is long.

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According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), sexual harassment is a widespread phenomenon that undermines equality at work. The organisation says it can have a negative impact on victims’ pay, career progression and working conditions, and potentially drive individuals out of the job market. While it can affect anyone, ILO says sexual harassment particularly affects women, and reinforces stereotypes about their abilities and aspirations.

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It is faced with these challenges that women have begun raising their voices to this cankerworm. Though Cameroon’s labour code does not provide a clause to punish perpetrators of such acts, internal rules and regulations of most companies strictly punish such crimes but are often under applied. Moreover, in June 2019, at the Centenary Conference of the ILO, the Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 206) were adopted. The Convention recognizes that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment. It offers broad protection and applies to the public and private sectors, to the formal and informal economy, and in urban and rural areas.

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The ILO holds that the global community has made it clear that violence and harassment at work will not be tolerated and must end.  

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