RMIT Professor of Work, Gender & Regulation Sara Charlesworth says rather than a decrease in sexual harassment, evidence suggests “it is just as prevalent, if not more prevalent, because there are now different mechanisms through which people can be sexually harassed…then say existed 20 years ago.”
Speaking with On the Job with Francis Leach and Sally Rugg, the Distinguished Professor called for greater government accountability and a better response to the Respect @ Work report.
“I think the Government was simply ignoring this report and in many ways it’s quite a modest report. It’s not overreaching in any way. There’s no real radical reform called for and it’s now drawing on a substantial evidence base,” Charlesworth said.
“We know now that this report, which was tabled last year, simply has sat on the Attorney General’s desk for almost a year.”
To help instigate meaningful change, Professor Charlesworth has joined together with Australian Unions and a diverse group of organisations representing women’s rights to demand the Morrison Government deliver real safety at work for women.
“I think that the group was a really good place to start, I think pressure is felt from many different sources…I think that the pressure has to be kept on by the Opposition, by the Greens, by the Independents,” said Charlesworth.
“There’s a lot of visceral anger from Australian women about the lack of action around sexual harassment, around gendered violence, generally, but also, particularly around sexual harassment in the workplace.
“We’ve got a system that’s clearly not working, that’s overly reliant on individual women making complaints, and is simply not addressing the systemic nature of sexual harassment.
“There’s got to be serious and concerted attempt to hold the Government to account.
“As I said at the beginning, this is not a radical report. Many of the recommendations have been made by the Human Rights Commission in earlier sexual harassment inquiries.
“It’s actually time that something was done.”