Efforts to end Sexual Harassment & Gender Discrimination must move from
Awareness to Accountability, Emphasis From 16 days to 365, Increase visibility on
the hidden issues of Sexual Harassment & Gender Discrimination in the workplace,
Calls on the Government of Botswana to ratify the ILO C190 Gaborone, 9 December 2020: Mmabontle Circle jointly with the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), calls for the end of Sexual Harassment and all forms of Gender Discrimination in the work environment in Botswana; standing in solidarity with the millions of activists, leaders & changemakers, during the 2020 Global 16 Days Campaign.
The time is now, more than ever before, amidst the worst ever global economic crisis, for
Botswana and the world, to realise the full enjoyment of women’s human rights to work and
at work. Sexual Harassment is not just a complex hidden issue of violation of human rights
but one of a rife economic cost to our country, especially from a productivity and health
perspective. According to a Deloitte report, “In 2018, workplace sexual harassment cost $2.6
billion in lost productivity and $0.9 billion in other financial costs. Each case of harassment
represents around 4 working days of lost output. Employers bore 70% of the financial costs,
government 23% and individuals 7%. Lost wellbeing for victims was an additional $250m, or
nearly $5000 per victim on average”.
In cognisance of the changing world of work, the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and global trends such as accelerated globalisation; there is need to focus on the structural and systemic harassment, discrimination and violence already faced by women, especially in the workplace.
We therefore call on the Government of the Republic of Botswana to ratify the International
Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work;
serving to cover existing gaps within legislation and an international standard that
encompasses everyone including interns, volunteers and workers whose employment has
Mmabontle Circle Founder, Ms. Tirelo Ramasedi communicated that,”As Botswana aspires
towards Achieving Prosperity For All through a knowledge economy, it will be vital that the rights of women at work are safeguarded so as to fully participate economically at all levels, especially in knowledge intensive jobs. Accountability through comprehensive Monitoring & Evaluation should be made mandatory on issues of sexual harassment & violence in the workplace. I believe that a #ZeroTolerance approach in our policies, laws, organisations and programmes will enable us to realize a world of work free of sexual harassment and violence.”
As BOPEU, it is our objective to ensure that there is enforcement of the health and safety
standards and to safeguard the human rights. We recognize that the working people of our
country are the main catalysts to economic advancements; serving as an organization that
exists to help provide labour with vital channels to positively influence economic and social
life, we believe that the ratification of the ILO C190 speaks to the very essence of the
abovementioned, said Mr Rash Sedimo, General Secretary, BOPEU.
We thus introduce the INSIST! Campaign by the Mmabontle Circle, which will drive multipronged efforts beyond the 16 Days of Activism; to see an end Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination in the World of Work in Botswana. Mmabontle Circle is an initiative that aims to close the gender and leadership gap in the technology sector by empowering early career female professionals.
Mmabontle Circle Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU)
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