PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the causes, forms, extent, and consequences of sexual harassment and sexual violence at public sector workplaces in Tanzania.Design/methodology/approachA total of 1,593 civil servants participated in the survey, which was conducted in the Mtwara Region of Tanzania. The quantitative data were complemented with the results from eight focus group discussions.FindingsThe study revealed that 21 percent of women and 12 percent of men had experienced sexual harassment personally. Overall, rural-based public servants had less knowledge of relevant policies, and experienced more sexual harassment than their urban colleagues. The majority of perpetrators were identified as men in senior positions; the majority of victims were recognized to be young female employees. Frequently reported behaviors included sexual bribery with regard to resource allocation, promotions, allowances, and other benefits.Practical implicationsDespite the existence of conducive legal and policy frameworks aimed at protecting employees from sexual harassment and violence, their implementation and effects were found to be limited. Only half of the study population was aware of the existing regulations. The study found that the majority of public servants who had knowledge on the issue had learned about sexual harassment in the context of an HIV/AIDS workplace program. This finding indicates that well-designed workplace interventions can play an important role in creating awareness, addressing gender stereotypes, and informing employees about their personal rights and responsibilities.Originality/valueSexual harassment and gender-based violence at the workplace has never been studied before in Tanzania. The study provides practical recommendations for future preventive interventions.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2017