Home » Oxfam Unveils Policy Draft in Ghana to Combat Workplace Harassment

Oxfam Unveils Policy Draft in Ghana to Combat Workplace Harassment

Conference Spotlights New Measures Against Gender-Based Violence in Workplaces

by Adenike Adeodun

In a groundbreaking initiative, Oxfam in Ghana has orchestrated a conference to unveil a draft model policy designed to combat workplace sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This pioneering move marks a significant stride towards creating safer and more inclusive work environments across the nation.

The draft policy, currently in the developmental stage, encompasses measures against workplace harassment and gender-based violence and aims to bolster inclusion for persons with disabilities. Once adopted, this policy is set to become a benchmark for organizations, enabling them to fortify their existing SGBV policies or adopt new, robust guidelines.

The conference in Accra, which convened yesterday, saw a diverse array of participants. This included delegates from Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), the Institute of Directors, private sector representatives, various government agencies, the banking sector, and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection.

According to a report by Daily Graphic, Thelma Akyere Hayford, the Gender Advisor of Oxfam in Ghana, highlighted the policy’s potential to catalyze a more secure and equitable workplace, essential for national development. The formulation of this policy was guided by the alarming SGBV statistics of 2021, particularly focusing on the need for increased private-sector involvement.

Despite the promising steps, challenges persist. Melody Darkey, Executive Director of WILDAF, emphasized the pervasiveness of SGBV, including sexual harassment, which often goes unreported due to stigma, fear of retaliation, and doubts about receiving justice.

Unaddressed, workplace SGBV can inflict profound emotional and psychological effects on victims, manifesting as post-traumatic stress, guilt, shame, and an overall decline in mental health, severely impacting productivity.

Rissi Assani, Business Development Manager at Oxfam in Ghana, referenced International Labour Organization research, indicating that 23% of employees have faced some form of sexual harassment or violence at work. The implementation of this policy, jointly funded by the European Union, aims to cultivate a work environment free from violence, abuse, and exploitation.

This initiative by Oxfam in Ghana is a commendable step towards mitigating workplace SGBV, setting a precedent for a healthier, more productive work culture in Ghana and beyond.

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