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Women in the work sector: Not much has changed

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Image source: huffingtonpost.in

New Delhi: According to a survey conducted recently, women tend to quit their jobs more often than men especially the ones who are working in the private sector. The glass ceiling remains unbroken due to a number of factors, including sexism and harassment at the office.

“About 40 percent of working mothers want to quit jobs to raise their kids. Gender bias together with workplace harassment and inconvenient working hours remained top reasons as to why the majority of respondents wanted to quit their jobs,” said a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) under the aegis of its Social Development Foundation.

The survey was conducted ahead of International Women’s Day that is celebrated globally every year on March 8.

The association had interacted with a total of about 500 working women, including 200 working mothers in 10 cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune during the course of past fortnight to gauge their career related goals.

About 25 percent of the total respondents said they wanted to quit their jobs and cited various reasons ranging from inconvenient working hours or late sitting, pay gap, gender bias, workplace harassment, lack of safety, poor working conditions, the pursuit of higher education, family related issues and others, the survey said.

Motherhood and lack of quality time with family were the primary reasons to quit for 80 out of 200 working mothers interviewed by the association.

Regarding harassment, about 30 percent of the total women interviewed by ASSOCHAM said they had been harassed at work, were denied promotion and plum assignments.

Besides, many of them also said they did not get much support from their authorities if they complained and, as a result, felt bogged down further due to guilt and shame.

Most of the respondents said their organizations did not have redressal mechanisms in place and did not comply with legal requirements to provide a safe workplace for women and display a very casual approach to such issues.(IANS)

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Female Journalists Face Online, Workplace Harassment

At a recent Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, a panel discussed some of those threats and why it's important to find solutions

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female journalists, harassment
A screen at the Global Conference for Media Freedom shows tweets by female journalists about the dangers they face on the job. VOA

The number of journalists killed in 2018 because of their work nearly doubled compared to 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In all, 88 journalists and media workers died on the job, because they were targeted for their reporting or were working in hazardous environments.

Female journalists face the same dangers as their male counterparts when working on an assignment; but, women journalists face other threats that don’t affect men to nearly the same degree.

At a recent Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, a panel discussed some of those threats and why it’s important to find solutions.

Nadine Hoffman, deputy director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, said that in a survey of 600 female journalists last year, more than two-thirds said they had experienced online harassment. She said those attacks are often sexual and misogynistic in nature.

“If you’re a woman and you assert yourself in the online space, men will attack you,” Hoffman said, noting that female politicians often experience the same kind of harassment.

female journalists
FILE – Lebanese protesters carry posters of prominent anti-Syrian news anchor May Chidiac, who was seriously wounded by a car bomb, during a sit-in at Martyrs square in Beirut, Sept. 26, 2005. VOA

‘There must be laws’

May Chidiac, the Lebanese minister of state for administrative development, survived a 2005 car bombing while she worked as a television journalist. The assassination attempt was part of a series of bombings targeting journalists and politicians who were critical of Syria.

Chidiac said that online harassment is a serious threat to women. She said more must be done to protect journalists targeted by those attacks and to prosecute the perpetrators.

“Personally, I never considered myself different from a male journalist,” she said. “But when it comes to online harassment, believe me, there is a big difference between men and women.”

She said in addition to sending vulgar material and comments, critics sometimes publicly post personal details, like a woman’s address or telephone number — an attack called “doxing” — putting her personal safety at risk.

“These are things that must not go unpunished,” she said. “There must be laws to, in one way or another, protect women from such aggression and harassment.”

harassment, female journalists
Hoffman said that it’s important to not dismiss such harassment as a workplace or human resources issue. Instead, she said it must be treated as a safety issue. Wikimedia Commons

Harassment by colleagues

Hoffman noted that one-third of the 2018 survey respondents said they considered leaving their newsroom because of such harassment. She added that another threat to women comes from within newsrooms: sexual harassment by colleagues.

Hoffman said that it’s important to not dismiss such harassment as a workplace or human resources issue. Instead, she said it must be treated as a safety issue.

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Hoffman said these threats are not taken as seriously as the dangers of reporting from hazardous locations or being targeted because of coverage of an organization or issue. But she warned that if these issues are not addressed, the impact goes beyond the individuals who leave the industry out of frustration or concern for their safety.

“Sexual harassment is a safety issue,” she said. “Online harassment does have offline implications,” she added. “Without women’s voices, we cannot have truly democratic societies and a free press.” (VOA)