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Al Rai Centre for Studies conducts training session on safe workplace environment

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Oct 18,2022 - Last updated at Oct 18,2022

AMMAN — The safety of the work environment plays a significant role in increasing women’s participation in the workforce. 

The Al Rai Centre for Studies on Tuesday held a training session titled “Safe Workplace Environment” on Tuesday. During the session, journalist Tareq Humaidi discussed the different types of harassment that women face in the workplace, and the proper way to handle harassment when it occurs. 

Since 1995, women’s participation in the workforce has not exceeded 15 per cent, said Humaidi. Currently, it stands at 14.7 per cent, he added.

“About 78 per cent of female graduates are unemployed,” Humaidi added.

Women in Jordan and all over the globe are subject to gender-based harassment, according to the journalist. 

A safe workplace, free of harassment, could play a significant role in increasing women’s participation in the workforce, he said, adding that women should be provided with the conditions needed to make them “excited” to work and to remain in the labour force.

“Women’s low participation rate in the workforce can be attributed to workplace harassment,” Humaidi claimed. 

“Although many people think of sexual harassment when they hear the term [workplace harassment], sexual harassment is only one form of harassing behaviour,” Humaidi said.

Harassment is any act that is unwanted, unwarranted and considered annoying or uncomfortable to the person on the receiving end of the behaviour.

Humaidi added that this often occurs as a result of discrimination against a variety of personal attributes, including gender, race, disability, religion and country of origin.

“Denying female employees the right to enroll their children and spouses in work-based health insurance plans can be considered discrimination or harassment,” he added. 

Other forms of gender-based discrimination include “refusing to hire newly married females in fear of them getting pregnant…, giving men promotions over their equally qualified female colleagues is also considered harassment”, Humaidi added. 

He also noted that workplace harassment does not necessarily need to be perpetrated by a male employee against a female employee. 

This phenomenon can cause emotional distress, and most often occurs when one employee has power over the other. Bullying, one form of harassment, might just be the beginning, Humaidi cautioned. 

“The first cure for harassment is to face it,” the journalist said.

In these matters, silence is not a cure, “especially because some perpetrators believe that silence is a clue of the victim’s consent”, said Humaidi. 

A victim should refuse the act, continued Humaidi, and show the perpetrator that they do not consent to being treated in such a manner.

“The second thing to do is to tell another person that you are being harassed,” Humaidi added. 

Perpetrators will usually choose a time and place where no one else but perpetrator and victim are present, making harassment much harder to prove, he said. For this reason, Humaidi added, it is important for victims to inform a trusted person as soon as possible.

“Filing a complaint can also be a solution for harassment,” he said. 

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