Workplace Harassment Plagues Female Employees

National Yemen

Workplace Harassment Plagues Female Employees

By NY Staff

In the last few years, the emergence of women in the Yemeni workplace has been striking, especially in a traditionally male-dominated society where men go to work while women stay at home.

In today’s difficult economic situation, however, many women have been forced to find work in order to help cover their families’ living expenses.

Today, working women face significant harassment, verbal and sexual, from both their family and their co-workers. Many women also must deal with discrimination in their places of employment.

This report focuses on true stories from women in Yemeni society.

Hanan, an accounts employee, said, “we in the accounts sections meet different kinds of people. As part of our job, we should deal with all customers nicely and calmly, observing certain limits. But this way of interacting with people make the men misunderstand working women and develop incorrect mindsets about them. Men will grow close with their female coworkers and try to start a relationship with them. When a female coworker stops them and tries to make her intentions clear, men distort her reputation but telling untrue stories about her. This occurs frequently, and will continue so long as there is psychological illness.

  A Psychopathic Boss.

Souad is a secretary in a government department and says, “my job requires me to be attentive and welcoming to people visiting the manager’s office, and the manager interferes in our dealings with people.

In the beginning, the manager tried to modify the way we spoke and behave with visitors. This was easy, and we thought it was important for the work. But soon, the manager interferes and tried to ask us to change what we wore, how we walk, and how much makeup we put. As female employees, we were angry about this behavior, but we remained patient and silent in order to keep our jobs.

As days passes we came to learn that our manager was a psychopathic person. He began to grow close to some of the girls in the office. He gives some special treatment, giving them rewards for work that anyone can do, and offer them rides and take them by his car to special meetings.

Fatima, a government employee, has worked now for seven years. “We have had three mangers and all of them have had the same bad point of views about women. Each manger tried to start a relationship with his female employees, especially with those who are single and inexperienced in dealing with men.

The last one of those managers began his harassment by giving us bonuses for no work. He did this in order to verbally harass us, telling jokes and stories that were supposed to indicate sexual ideas, and then cutting the rewards for anyone who tried to stop his bad behaviors. We complained to the Commission Manager, but all he did was to notify our office manager of our complaint.

Sexual harassment of working women, psychologist Arwa Shahin says that it is natural for men to be nice to women more than other people of the same gender. The opposite is true with women; they are strict with men and kind with other kind of their gender.

The improper treatment of a man with women doesn’t mean he betrays all the women in his life; he may be kind to his mother, sister, wife, and daughter. Sometime the man treats his female coworkers well as he is used to doing with all the women around him in his life, but some women may ascribe his niceness to repressed desires inside him.

We don’t forget the presence polygamy in Yemeni society, which causes women to have negative impressions of men and feel worried about the functional relationship between the two genders.

Arwa also says, we don’t deny that there is small number of men who use the functional relationship to satisfy sexual vanity. In this case, the reaction of women is different from one to other. Most women prefer silent non-confrontation in order to avoid the scandal and untruth rumors.

In general, sexual harassment in integrated workplaces is a social phenomenon resulting from gender integration. But in time, our society will overcome these negative trends through good moral training and religious education of our children.  


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