10 December 2008

European Paper on Women & Violence at Work

One person in 10 has suffered from some form of bullying, harassment or violence at work. The most vulnerable are women and those who work on temporary contracts although men are also vulnerable in the workplace. On 27 November 2007 the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality held a hearing to discuss the level of sexual harassment at work. The hearing brought together experts in the field and MEPs from across the political spectrum.

The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions published a background paper to support this special hearing.

The paper sets out some of the findings from the most recent EWCS data collected in late 2005. It is based on interviews with nearly 30,000 workers in 31 European countries, including all of the Member States. It looks at the data primarily in relation to psychological as opposed to physical forms of violence. In the survey, the question on bullying refers to ‘bullying / harassment’ while the question on exposure to ‘unwanted sexual attention’ in the previous twelve months is used as a proxy for sexual harassment. In order to simplify the presentation, this paper differentiates between workplace ‘bullying’ on the one hand and ‘sexual harassment’ on the other. These are distinct and quite separate phenomena but working women are exposed to a higher risk than men for both and the survey is used to investigate some of the reasons why this is the case.

Certain sectors, such as health, education and hotels/restaurants, show high levels of bullying and harassment. The report recommends that it is therefore appropriate to consider specific interventions in designed for specific employment sectors to combat psychological violence. Such interventions should take into account that many of the sectors affected have an over-representation of female employees.

Read more from the European Parliament

Read the background paper

information : Australian Assoc of Social Workers
source : IFSW

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