Awareness and Monitoring
last updated December 2014

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women’s Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at www.endvawnow.org. 

Education & Awareness-Raising
Laws on sexual harassment should allocate resources for education and raising awareness of the problem. This might be done through specific budgetary allocation for government-run programs or through allocations of funds to NGOs to develop awareness-raising and educational programs. Many nations have undertaken such efforts by, for example:
  • Including sexual harassment as a topic in nationwide campaigns on violence against women;
  • Creating lessons and programs on sexual harassment to be included in school curricula; and
  • Developing media campaigns to promote gender equality and to inform women of their rights when they have been sexually harassed.
Example - Raising Awareness in Slovenia & Croatia
In 1997 in Slovenia and Croatia a coalition of trade unions, women’s groups, and universities instituted massive campaigns to raise awareness about workplace sexual harassment. The campaigns focused on changing attitudes in the workplace and educating women about their legal rights to a workplace free from sexual harassment. Advocates distributed thousands of leaflets and posters providing guidelines for employees facing sexual harassment in the workplace and instructing women “How to say no to your boss.” The posters and leaflets appeared in banks, post offices, railway stations, health care centers, parliament, and government agencies. In addition, a manual on developing employer policies for the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment and video tapes introducing the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace were also distributed at “the training of trainers” workshops. The campaign resulted in 95 articles in the print media, seven television broadcasts, and extensive radio coverage in Slovenia along with 50 articles and four television programs in Croatia. In addition, the campaign generated the following impacts: 
  • Government agencies and trade unions established phone lines dedicated to providing counseling regarding sexual harassment;
  • A strike forced a major Slovenian company to address sexual harassment charges by its female employees;
  • A new labor law prohibiting sexual harassment was drafted in Slovenia;
  • The first criminal charges of sexual harassment were filed in Croatia; 
  • Croatian trade unions adopted sexual harassment policies;
  • The campaign promoted increased awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace.
(See: Picturing a Life Free of Violence: Media and Communications Strategies to End Violence Against Women, Chapter 2: Sexual Assault And Coercion, Saying No to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 28)
Oversight & Monitoring
Laws on sexual harassment should provide for the establishment of an oversight and monitoring body. [Cross link to Monitoring Chapter] This government body should have the power to receive complaints from victims, assist victims with gaining redress, gather data on the problem of sexual harassment, and make recommendations for reform when necessary. 
 
Examples:
Austrian law establishes an Ombudsman for Equal Treatment (Anwältin für die Gleichbehandlung von Männern und Frauen in der Arbeitswelt) which can receive complaints from victims of sexual harassment and request information from employers.
 
Costa Rica: If an employer in Costa Rica ignores a claim or if the harasser is the general manager of the corporation, employees may bring their complaints to the National Directorate and Inspector of Labour. See: Sexual Harassment Prevention, Ius Laboris, 2012.
 
Pakistan: Sexual harassment legislation in Pakistan establishes the position of an Ombudsman for each of Pakistan’s regions, under the National Commission on the Status of Women, who has the power to receive and address claims of sexual harassment. The Prime Minister of Pakistan also appointed an Implementation Watch Committee to monitor implementation of Pakistan’s sexual harassment laws. The Implementation Watch Committee released a report in 2012 documenting the fact that more than 1000 cases of sexual harassment were addressed by employer inquiry committees, and that more than 50 cases were lodged directly with the police under the Penal Code. Finally, a national website, Sexual Harassment Watch, also monitors implementation of the law and provides information to the public.
 
(See: Protection Against Harassment at the Workplace Act; Farahnaz Ispahani, Towards Women’s Empowerment, new Pakistan, (March 13, 2010); Fouzia Saeed, A closer look at sexual harassment laws, The Express Tribune, May 29, 2012.