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Education & Awareness-Raising

Laws on sexual harassment should allocate resources for education and raising awareness of the problem. This might be done through specific budgetary allocation for government-run programs or through allocations of funds to NGOs to develop awareness-raising and educational programs. Many nations have undertaken such efforts by, for example:

  • Including sexual harassment as a topic in nationwide campaigns on violence against women;
  • Creating lessons and programs on sexual harassment to be included in school curricula; and
  • Developing media campaigns to promote gender equality and to inform women of their rights when they have been sexually harassed.

See: Campaign for Eliminating Violence Against Women (Japan); Module in Social Education and Equality Issues (Ireland); Radio Campaigns to Prevent Sexual Harassment (Costa Rica); Korean Institute for Gender Equality Promotion and Education Trainings (Korea); Inclusion of Violence Against Women in Curricula on Ethical Education and Civics (Slovakia))

 

Example - Raising Awareness in Slovenia & Croatia
In 1997 in Slovenia and Croatia a coalition of trade unions, women’s groups, and universities instituted massive campaigns to raise awareness about workplace sexual harassment. The campaigns focused on changing attitudes in the workplace and educating women about their legal rights to a workplace free from sexual harassment. Advocates distributed thousands of leaflets and posters providing guidelines for employees facing sexual harassment in the workplace and instructing women “How to say no to your boss.” The posters and leaflets appeared in banks, post offices, railway stations, health care centers, parliament, and government agencies. In addition, a manual on developing employer policies for the prevention and eradication of sexual harassment and video tapes introducing the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace were also distributed at “the training of trainers” workshops. The campaign resulted in 95 articles in the print media, seven television broadcasts, and extensive radio coverage in Slovenia along with 50 articles and four television programs in Croatia. In addition, the campaign generated the following impacts: 

  • Government agencies and trade unions established phone lines dedicated to providing counseling regarding sexual harassment;
  • A strike forced a major Slovenian company to address sexual harassment charges by its female employees;
  • A new labor law prohibiting sexual harassment was drafted in Slovenia;
  • The first criminal charges of sexual harassment were filed in Croatia; 
  • Croatian trade unions adopted sexual harassment policies;
  • The campaign promoted increased awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace.

(See: Picturing a Life Free of Violence: Media and Communications Strategies to End Violence Against Women, Chapter 2: Sexual Assault And Coercion, Saying No to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 28)