The New Woman Foundation (NWF) has been involved with the issue of women and work for over a decade, either through the production of action-oriented research, the provision of legal aid and visibility in the media for women workers, or the organization of several sessions of training workshops on various topics aiming at raising the awareness of these women about their rights and contributing in strengthening their capacity building to enable them fighting for these rights. The diverse activities conducted enabled the organization to identify the exposure of these women to violence and discrimination at the workplace, including types of sexual violence. This led NWF to conduct a field research in 2009 about the phenomenon of sexual harassment with a focus on women workers in the “investment zones” (free zones) in the following four governorates:
Ismailya, Suez, Port-Said and Alexandria. The findings of this research revealed the forms of sexual exploitation of women workers at work that are directly related to the working conditions and environment, combined with the masculine and patriarchal culture prevailing at the society level. Since the publication of this research, NWF is closely monitoring the increasing trend of violations. This takes place through direct contact and interaction with women workers in the governmental and private sectors in number of governorates.
Accordingly, the organization considered important to devote this second report of the Observatory to these specific violations with the purpose of clearly understanding the real prevailing situation in order to:
·Encourage women to freely talk about what they are exposed to at the workplace and identify their needs to enable them resisting to these violations through the provision of adequate support;
·Contribute in developing legislation and proposing policies aiming at eliminating the occurrence of sexual violence against women at work.
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