Sexual harassment laws must be included in corporate governance processes

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Workplace Sexual Abuse
Workplace Sexual Abuse

Madam Angela Carmen Appiah, President of the Institute of Directors (IOD-Ghana), says there is a need to incorporate sexual harassment and gender-based violence policies into the corporate governance practices of organizations.

She said as part of the measures aimed at ensuring a safe working environment, Directors were expected to implement a sexual and gender-based violence policy.

Madam Appiah was speaking at the National Conference on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the workplace.

The event was organized by Oxfam in Ghana, Women in Law, and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) and IOD-Ghana.

The Conference dubbed “The Draft Model: Gender Workplace Policy’, is part of the five-year ENOUGH initiative in Ghana, which is co-funded by the European Union and Oxfam to combat SGBV.”

The Conference had 12 organisations committed to implementing these policies and signing Memoranda of Understanding, demonstrating their commitment to fostering safe and inclusive workplaces.

The President said her outfit in 2024 would enforce sexual harassment policy by requiring organisations and directors to present a sexual harassment policy as part of the requirement to be a recipient of the IOD Corporate Governance Excellence Award.

“Going into 2024 through the IOD Corporate Governance Excellence Award, celebrated in Ghana, is one such tool where we drive ethical behaviours. We would like to have some of these criteria in such organisations and having such policies to address gender issues,“ she said.

Madam Thelma Akyere Hayford, Gender Advisor for OXFAM in Ghana, said although there was a national policy on sexual harassment, it could be adopted at the organisation level.

The Policy on workplace-related sexual harassment, according to her, was drafted last year, and the conference provided a platform for stakeholders to provide input on the final draft, which will be implemented next year.

Madam Bernice Sam, Principal Consultant for BSC Advisory, told the Ghana News Agency that the conference was concerned about underreporting of workplace sexual harassment cases.

She said the underreported sexual harassment created a toxic working environment and a culture that did not facilitate a safe working environment for women and other excluded groups.

The underreporting of sexual harassment could negatively affect the productivity and reputation of the organization.

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