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Research to spotlight workplace violence against African women

Research to spotlight workplace violence against African women

African Women on Board (AWB), a nonprofit organisation has in partnership with Ford Foundation, perfected plans to launch a new research project that would focus on violence against women in workplace.

The research, which would be based on its 2020/2021 theme: ‘The Power of Africa’s Female Economy,’ hopes to produce practical findings that will help stakeholders (women, men, workplaces, regulatory bodies, policymakers and others) to better understand ways to tackle violence against women.

It is also expected that the outcome would help create policy models that can be applied to workplaces across the continent.

According to AWB, violence against women can take many forms including intimidation, sexual harassment, and online abuse as well as physical, sexual, emotional and economic violence.

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It stated that there is a significant gap in understanding the prevalence of such acts particularly in the workplace, as relates to both corporate and non- corporate environments including offices, marketplaces, restaurants, homes, hospitals and online.

“Gender based violence ( GBV) especially violence against women and girls ( VAWG) is not only widespread but also a major impediment to women and girls’ development and participation within households and societies,” says Olufunke Baruwa, programme officer, Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice at Ford Foundation, West Africa.

In many parts of Nigeria, Baruwa said, violence is accepted as a tool for the subordination of women and used as an instrument of control over women’s bodies and lives.

She added that such act not only degrades women but also impacts on their rights, dignity and wellbeing.
According to Baruwa, Ford Foundation is making a strategic choice to focus on preventing VAWG by investing in programmes and organisations addressing social norms that contribute to perpetration and normalisation of the problem.

Meanwhile, AWB said it will produce a new podcast featuring accounts from women who have experienced such acts within their working environments. It will also partner forward-thinking businesses and brands to conduct anonymous employee work experience surveys and gather more granular feedback on the patterns of abuse taking place.

AWB however disclosed that it has created a Gender Equality Certification programme, aligned with the United Nations’ SDG five, to help organisations implement safer working environments, providing assessments, recommendations and trainings for practitioner certification.