Study of Sexual Harassment of Female Staff in Government Ministries in Afghanistan in Preparation for a Campaign, a project of Women for Afghan Women, Afghanistan
The objectives of this project were:
- To ascertain the nature and extent of sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the Ministries of the GoA by means of a questionnaire to be completed anonymously by a sampling of male and female employees of representative Ministries, and
- To develop a workshop to educate staff in Ministries regarding sexual harassment and discrimination of women.
Throughout the project, WAW aimed to create a space safe for expression for all participants (male and female) as well as provide information around the issue of women’s right, sexual harassment and discrimination.
Areas canvassed during the project included existence, awareness and effectiveness of policies, personal experiences with discrimination or harassment, staff positions of the persons involved, actions taken, results obtained, and subjective experiences and observations.
Activities and Results:
1. The questionnaire was carried out, and results compiled. 241 women and 61 men responded.
Results illustrated the complete lack of policies and procedures with respect to sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the Ministries. Additionally, it highlights first-hand experiences of sexual harassment and discrimination of women employees who have no means of recourse to justice.
Meetings held with WCLRC and IWA to corporate on finalizing and publicizing the report.
2. The workshop was not held, due to political reasons …
Other than the general political situation, the current climate of fear and uncertainty with respect to women’s shelters, run by WAW. The GoA’s policy and attitude towards all shelters is undergoing scrutiny from within the government. No findings or policy changes have been released to date. In the meantime, WAW fears alienating or antagonizing the Ministries involved. Women may not be referred to our facilities, or our centers could even be closed suddenly with no chance of appeal.
The short project period prevented reaching more respondents and ministeries.
Despite these challenge, the coordination with other NGOs, sharing resources, information and concerns offers the potential of combined impact in the future on changing government policy and procedure.