National
Nationwide drive against workplace sexual abuse
Publish Date: Feb 17, 2014
Nationwide drive against workplace sexual abuse
Prof. Sylvia Tamale says many perpetrators go unpunished due to lack of evidence. PHOTO/Jeff Andrew Lule
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Jeff Andrew Lule                          

KAMPALA - Women activists in Uganda have embarked on a nationwide campaign against sexual harassment at workplaces.

The campaign organized under the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) is supported by the Dutch government.

It will be supported through the Netherlands Wage Indicator Foundation (NWIF).

The one-year drive aims at sensitizing and creating awareness among employers and employees about sexual harassment on the job.

A senior lecturer of Makerere University, Prof. Sylvia Tamale said it is a “timely strategy to campaign against this act”.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Kampala, Tamale underlined the need for a reporting mechanism at workplaces where cases can be reported without fear.

She said: “Many perpetrators go unpunished due to lack of evidence while majority of victims fear to report in fear of losing their jobs.”

The drive was launched at Ureka Hotel in Ntinda on Friday.

Tamale, who lectures at the law school, attributed the high number of cases of sexual harassment to the patriarch system – where men are said to dominate everything and are believed to only look at women as sexual objects.

“Men look at women as sex objects. We need to change that mindset,” she said.


Participants at the launch of the campaign at Ureka Hotel in Ntinda. PHOTO/Jeff Andrew Lule

The professor said further that the law on sexual harassment is too weak to address the problem.

NOTU women chairperson, Agnes Kim Atwooki, said they receive cases where men especially the youth are being harassed by their bosses.

Mentioning that the vice is an obstacle to productivity, she said the campaign’s focus is on higher institutions of learning and companies countrywide to sensitize the employees and employers on how to combat the issue.

“This vice affects the productivity of individuals at work places. Others end up infected with sexually transmitted diseases but remain silent because of threats from the perpetrators who are always their bosses and fellow workers,” said Atwooki.

A Uganda Human Rights Defenders Association (UHRDA) survey carried last year in 2,910 organizations indicates that 90 percent of women are sexually harassed at places of work by their male seniors.

The study was carried out in companies, financial institutions, churches, health centres, universities, and in other settings.

Atwooki talked of the abuse of especially female students in universities and at places where they do their internship from.

And her stance is that many of the victims bottle up their experiences and continue to suffer from humiliation due to lack of a reporting mechanism and policy.

The women activists’ leader said government needs to put in place a strong policy to curb the problem that exists in both the formal and informal sectors.

“The current law under section 7(4) of the Employment Act 2006, outlaws the vice but applies only where an employer has more than 25 employees in his or her establishment,” she observed.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Leaders meet over electoral reforms
The civil society, religious leaders, political parties and the labour movement have met in Kampala for the national dialogue to generate consensus on the necessary electoral and constitutional reforms to guarantee free and fair elections in 2016....
About 100 people massacred in DR Congo - MPs
About 100 people were slaughtered last week in the east of the DRC, the latest massacre to shake the restive region....
Uganda Road Fund wants efficiency in roads maintenance
The financial accountability guidelines are affecting the maintenance of roads and Uganda needs to emulate its neighbors if the Uganda Road Fund (URF) is to efficiently be managed.Engineer Michael Odongo, the URF executive director said that the Ethiopian and Kenya road funds which have been in exi...
Who will finally stop Kinawataka destruction?
Can decisions by the Cabinet and Parliament about the environment be ignored? The continued destruction of Kinawataka swamp in Banda, Kampala suggests they can....
City floods: body of woman who drowned found
The body of Irene Nakato, who slipped and fell into one of the secondary channels in Kawempe, has been found after a long search, KCCA has said....
Elderly defiler asks for lenient term saying he is
A traditional healer, sentenced to 15 years in jail for defiling a nine-year-old girl, has asked for a lenient jail term, saying he is now impotent....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter