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Women urged to speak up on workplace harassment

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Participants at the event


Women have been urged to speak up on the various kinds of workplace harassment rather than hide it to protect the perpetrators.

Chief Executive Officer, Girl Child Art Foundation (GCAF), Ada Onyejike-Ananaba, while giving her speech at the event themed: ‘Let’s talk: Work Place Harassment’, said the awareness was expedient to reducing absenteeism and increased productivity in the workplace.

Onyejike-Ananaba, who further stated that the essence of the dialogue was to reduce job dissatisfaction and boost staff morale, added: “We believe that in order to achieve equity on human rights, the causes of gender inequality and poverty amongst women and girls, cannot be addressed without providing those affected with a voice and space to participate in decisions affecting them. Therefore, we understand, identify discrimination, and challenged it to achieve equitable development for the girl child and young women.”

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The Chief Executive Officer, OMP Consult Limited, Olakanmi Onidundu, noted that harassment starts from within before it is exhibited in the open.This, he said, could be physical or psychological and occur because of gender, disability, ethnicity and culture among others. 

According to him, of the 12 fundamental human rights listed in the constitution, nine focuses on harassment.He added that workplace harassment has caused people to leave their jobs with a lot of intellectual property that could help put the organisations at a top competitive edge.

Onidundu called on women who are mostly affected to be aware of their rights, while urging company’s Human Relation practitioners to enshrine it in their constitution.

“Management should support such polices and reward good behaviour. Parents also need training on handling such issues when it arises in their homes and to train their children on how to react to such discomfort.” 

Family life therapist, Chizobam Ofoegbu noted that harassment is caused by people’s inability to deal with stress, which is an unhealthy coping mechanism. She, however, added that knowledge on what the law says about harassment is an effective preventive method. 

On sexual harassment, she urged women to avoid being suggestive, especially through their speeches and attire. She also stressed the need for emotional intelligence and conflict management trainings, noting: “When we come into the workplace, we must read the polices to find out if they make room for harassment and find power lines in the company, preferably someone at the top and bottom of the ladder. Have friends in the office so in the case of such ills there would be a catalogue of evidence.

Advertising practitioner, Nkechi Mordi, suggested that the era of dress codes and proper seating arrangements be reintroduced in the workplace. She noted that workplace harassment has vast phases like sexual, verbal, unequal pay, promotion rights, among others.

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