Ayesha Abbas


Women and workplace harassment

Women have always worked not only in their homes, but outside the house as well. Women have also worked to earn money. At the same time, it is also a reality that women undergo harassment because of being women. Women’s harassment, whether committed by total strangers or by intimate family members, because of the trickiness of its performance, remains an enigma for the victims to report and for the legislators to pin down for penalizing. Although workplace harassment has remained a puzzling issue for feminist scholars and activists to define in terms of its complex dimensions and elusiveness of its public face, its venomous presence is becoming resilient despite worldwide outcry against it.

In the late 60s and the early 70s, Western feminist theorists and activists were the first to harness public opinion against women‟s sexual harassment at the workplace in terms of sex-based discrimination. American psychiatrist and anthropologist Carroll Brodsky's book, The Harassed Worker (1976), for example, is an early source that used the term "sexual harassment." With the help of several case studies of harassed workers in California, Brodsky concluded that systematic abuse and mistreatment of workers by their employees and co-workers scars the lives of workers by causing devastating effects on their productivity, health and well-being.