The Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE) in partnership with HIVOS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands has launched its latest campaign and study entitled ‘’Creating Safer Workplaces: Towards Sexual Harassment Policies in Lebanon’’
In the absence of Lebanese laws to protect against sexual harassment, organizations have been left to their goodwill and discretion to establish bylaws, policies, and procedures that mitigate sexual harassment. However, a latest study recently launched by AFE mapping the internal policies of private and public sector organizations, political parties, unions, NGOs, and universities uncovered that as little as 15% of organizations had protective policies in this regard.
In an effort to strengthen women’s economic and political participation, AFE and its partners recognize that basic physical and moral safety needs to be ensured. When left untackled, sexual harassment in the workplace also bears high costs to employers, as organizations incur losses in terms of lower productivity, higher turnover, absenteeism, and a harmed reputation vis-à-vis their stakeholders and shareholders. At the same time, the Ministry of Economy and Trade reported that women in Lebanon are an untapped source of economic growth, representing an “enormous potential” yet “reeling” under an inadequate supporting environment”. Citing a low participation of women in leadership positions, the Ministry called for the establishment of friendlier business environments through the development of dedicated and supportive policies and specialized trainings.
To this end, AFEV and its partners will be engaging with key stakeholders within the private sector to establish more protective policies in the workplace. As a first step a high-level business lunch gathering specialists and key decision-makers committed to ensuring safe and equal workplaces, was held at Le Gray Hotel earlier this month/
As a final note, the accompanying video of the campaign has gathered 700,000 views and more than 10,000 shares on social media.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.