Sexual harassment bill ‘a must’
The head of a local gender equality organization is appealing for the long recommended Sexual Harassment Bill to be finally enacted.
“I think there has been a lot of discussion. It keeps going back and forth all the time,” acting director of the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Nalita Gajadhar said today.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY during the Empowering Women Through Trade And Entrepreneurship Opportunities workshop at Bagnall’s Point in Pelican Craft Village Gajadhar lamented that Barbadian women are still victims of sexism, despite some strides that have been made.
Discussing some of the challenges facing 21st century female entrepreneurs, including sexual harassment, financing, fear, and societal ideologies of a woman’s role, Gajadhar said: “I was around in the 1970s when we were singing [Helen Reddy’s] I Am Woman and we’ve been roaring but it has been incremental.”
“We have to look to the society and try to create a new norm, a freedom from the notion of what is norm. Women themselves have to keep calling out for it. The Bureau of Gender Affairs keeps working on things like that but when it comes to policy that is the dictate of the political leaders.”
Gajadhar was optimistic, though, that the first woman to head the Barbados Workers’ Union, Toni Moore, might be able to press the authorities into action into making the legislation a reality.
Also speaking to the female businesswomen this afternoon, chief executive officer of the Small Business Association Lynette Holder reiterated Gajadhar’s point, adding that women should support each other to fight sexism.
“One of the things as an administrator I am fighting for is for women to understand the value of association; it is key, it is critical. Sexism is very prevalent in our society so we have to pool our resources and come together as women to realise our objective . . . In order to combat [sexism] we have to come together so that the voice of our female entrepreneurs can be strengthened and can be heard,” she said.