Pledge to end workplace sexual harassment


Some organisations still don’t know how to address sexual harassment in the workplace or how to roll out effective training for staff to learn about it in compliance to the new law. Photo: Unsplash/Elisa Ventur

To help eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace, Women’s Aid Organisation has recently launched the “We Pledge” programme.

“This will address SDG 5, which is the elimination of violence against women in the workplace,” says WAO Partnerships & Development director Amnani Abdul Kadir.

“We Pledge supports employees and employers to understand unprofessional behaviour in the workplace concerning power dynamics, sexual harassment, bullying, and others, that are harmful to the staff and the workplace,” says Amnani.

“Some organisations still don’t know how to address sexual harassment in the workplace and how to roll out effective training for staff to learn about it in compliance to the new legislation.

“The We Pledge programme covers difficult topics in an approachable way, providing employees and employers with the vital knowledge and awareness in understanding and handling issues of sexual harassment in the workplace,” she says.

“Also, engaging and working alongside corporate HR teams, WAO educates staff on how to seek support from their organisation through complaint mechanisms, psychosocial support and investigation processes,” she adds.

Corporate companies are urged to be more proactive in addressing issues of sexual harassment in the workplace, as it is detrimental to job performance and the company’s image, says Amnani.

The initiative seeks to empower both employees and employers with the knowledge and tools necessary to recognise, prevent, and effectively address instances of sexual harassment.

Topics covered will include gender-based violence response and prevention; Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) awareness through addressing unconscious gender biases; and specialised training for HR professionals, leadership, and management teams, consistent with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day “Count her in: Invest in women”.

Amnani conducting We Pledge programme training on ‘Bystander Intervention’ for a corporate client. Photo: Women’s Aid OrganisationAmnani conducting We Pledge programme training on ‘Bystander Intervention’ for a corporate client. Photo: Women’s Aid Organisation

According to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index (2023), Malaysia ranks 13 out of 19 countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, and 102 out of 146 countries globally, with a score of 0.682.

(By comparison, a perfect score would be 1, indicating total gender equality across all aspects.)

WAO believes that businesses and corporations play a pivoting role in effecting transformative change for the nation’s future growth and development.

“Through We Pledge, businesses can make an impact on women’s and children’s lives by addressing key areas such as economic empowerment, access to healthcare, childcare, education, and subsequently enhance the representation of women in political spheres,” says Amnani.

WAO capacity building officer, Adelina Zulkifli conducting training on how to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace for the food services and facilities management industry. Photo: Women's Aid OrganisationWAO capacity building officer, Adelina Zulkifli conducting training on how to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace for the food services and facilities management industry. Photo: Women's Aid OrganisationWAO emphasises the critical link between violence and its contribution to poverty.

“Violent conflicts not only cause immediate harm but also lead to long-term economic repercussions, including damage to infrastructure and institutions, destruction of assets, forced displacement, increased unemployment, and inflation,” she says.

The organisation is inviting businesses to “take the pledge and make an impact”.

“By doing so, businesses will not only align with their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals, but will also actively contribute to building a more equitable society,” Amnani concludes.

To participate in the programme or for more information, visit WAO’s official website.

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