Friday February 24, 2012
‘Tackle sexual harassment’
By ISABELLE LAI
PETALING JAYA: Sexual harassment in the workplace is still a very real nightmare for the victims as there is inadequate legislation to protect them, said activist Meera Samanther.
Meera, who is Association of Women Lawyers' president, said the current provisions for sexual harassment under the Employment Act was not comprehensive enough to provide proper help to victims.
“We need to pass the Sexual Harassment Bill so that it will be compulsory for employers to formulate proper sexual harassment policies, establish a committee for it and provide quick redress to victims,” she said here yesterday, adding that strong backing from employers would empower women to speak out without fear.
Meera, who will discuss the issue with Capital FM deejay Asha Gill next Wednesday, pointed out that women groups had been lobbying for the Bill to be passed since it was drafted in 2001.
She emphasised the need for such a Bill, which would recognise the right of “every human being to a working environment free of harassment”.
“Sexual harassment is a violation of human dignity and our fundamental liberty to equal opportunities at work,” she stressed, pointing out that men had also become victims.
She urged the public to tune in to the programme as sexual harassment affected both the victims and employers.
“We want to reach out to listeners many of whom may be silent sufferers, who need to know what to do and where to go for help.
“We want the perpetrators to understand how their actions affect victims and employers to understand how work productivity is affected,” she said.
Meera also lauded Capital FM 88.9, Malaysia's first radio station catering to women, for bringing up the idea of speaking about sexual harassment.
Asha, a passionate advocate of women's rights, said it was vital for women to know their rights and stand up for themselves.
“Women should be able to feel confident and reprimand their harasser by saying I feel that is not appropriate', and take the necessary steps to stop it,” she said.
Meera will be speaking along with All Women's Action Society (Awam) programme manager Betty Yeoh on Asha's Eat, Pray, Love show from 11am to noon next Wednesday.
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