Pakistan's public sector tops in sexual harassment

Pakistan's public sector tops in sexual harassment

ISLAMABAD - Mystifying, but it is official. More woman workers fall victim to sexual harassment in the government sector than in the private sector.

This emerged from the number of complaints received by the office of the Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace.

Since its establishment in 2011, the court of the Federal Ombudsman has received 160 cases of harassment and disposed of 153. Seven cases are under process.

That government departments score high in debauchery, when job insecurity is higher in the private sector, is baffling. It would be natural for a victim to suppress her rage for fear of losing her job.

"Job insecurity in the private sector is the main reason why women and men alike do not come forward with complaints of being harassed," observed Registrar of the office, Chaudhry Aziz Iqbal.

It could be that the very security that a government job provides emboldens the perpetrator to misbehave and his victim to raise her voice.

Chaudhry Aziz said the government and the private organisations were not doing enough to make their employee aware of the law that protects them against sexual harassment in a work environment.

"That is the biggest challenge for our office," he told Dawn.

"The law obliges the management of organisations, both in the public and private sectors, to display the Code of Conduct in English, as well as in the language understood by most of their employees, at conspicuous places in the organisations."

Most of the complaints about harassment came to the office from women working in the education sector across the country.

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