Workplace Sexual Harassment Must Be Stamped out for All

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 8, 2018 | Go to article overview

Workplace Sexual Harassment Must Be Stamped out for All


Byline: BETHAN DARWIN LAW & MORE

SOME years ago now I was a guest at a women's awards ceremony in Cardiff where each table was allocated a Butler in the Buff to serve their drinks.

These were young men with toned bodies, naked from the waist up, apart from a set of cuffs and a dicky bow.

No actual shirt, just the cuffs. It remains one of my regrets that I did not kick off about those Butlers in the Buff on the night.

I felt it would be rude to my host to point out to the almost exclusively female attendees that women had been putting up with this sort of objectification for long enough and equality did not mean doing the same back to men, not least because some attendees appeared to be thoroughly enjoying ogling the half-naked young men. I winced my way through the awards presentation and left as soon as I could.

I thought about that awards ceremony again when the Presidents Club Dinner story broke.

It seemed to me that there must have been dads and brothers and granddads attending the Presidents Club who were completely opposed to the way the young hostesses were being treated, but, like me, didn't say anything.

Last week The Women and Equalities Commission (a parliamentary committee) released its report on sexual harassment in the workplace.

It was commissioned as a direct result of the #MeToo campaign, the mass movement of women sharing their experiences of being sexually harassed and triggered by the allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. More allegations of sexual harassment followed across a variety of sectors, including politics, revealing the scale of the problem.

The report which also references the Presidents Club dinner describes itself as "a call to action", stating, "Our concern is to ensure that, as the news cycle inevitably moves on, the urgency of action by employers and by the government to tackle workplace sexual harassment does not wane." The report notes that throughout the world of work, in spite of the law, sexual harassment is an everyday, common occurrence. It is also not confined to women, although women do suffer it far more than men.

Research by ComRes for the BBC in November 2017 found that 40% of women and 18% of men (29% overall) had experienced some form of unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace, including 9% in the preceding year. …

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