Superiors, trade union leaders often abuse female workers: study

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 12:12am on April 30, 2018

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Bangladesh Shrama Institute holds a press conference on ‘Barriers to Women’s Participation in Trade Unions and Labour Organisations’ at National Press Club in the capital on Sunday. — New Age photo

At workplaces and unions female workers are often sexually harassed by their superiors as well as by trade union leaders, revealed a recent study of Bangladesh Shrama Institute, known as BASHI, released Sunday.
Respondent female workers told researchers BASHI that though it was the responsibility of trade union to protect workers from harassments and abuse union leaders themselves often sexually harass them.
BASHI released the findings of the study at a news conference Sunday.
BASHI’s findings identified sexual harassment as one of the main barriers deterring female workers getting involved with trade union activities.
According to the study report female workers in 17 registered trade unions told the researchers that they had been sexually harassed by union leaders.
The report was read out by BASHI executive committee member Farhana Afrin Tithi.
Of the 17 unions, 16 were found to be heavily male dominated and the female leaders were in the majority in only one union, said Tithi.
The study also found that besides sexual harassment, female workers have to shoulder double the work load compared to their male colleagues.
Besides, female union leaders’ role inorganizing basic units of unions at factories are seldom recognized for which female workers lose their faith on trade unions and their leaders.
At the news conference, labour leader Joly Talukder said that the prime minister being herself a woman fails to protect thousands of female workers as well as other women and girls from being abused daily as her government takes greater interest in protecting capital.
Though more women participate in street protest how many of them get the chance to be in leadership’ she asked.
BASHI trustee board president Shah Atiul Islam, who was in the chair, said that increasing the number of female trade union leaders alone could safeguard female workers rights.