Private sector takes the lead
The private sector is calling on all business people in Samoa to increase their commitment to stop the harassment of women in the workplace.
Workplace harassment includes any unwanted, unwelcome or inappropriate behaviour, whether sexual or otherwise.
Leading the call is Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB.) that has long committed to addressing gender-based violence in the workplace with awareness campaigns, both publicly and for its staff, supported by its SSAB Domestic Violence Policy for all staff.
SSAB’s Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai is the keynote speaker at an event today, called Safer Workplaces for a Safer Samoa: How the Private Sector Can Contribute, being held at the US Embassy residence in Apia, linking with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and hosted by Samoa Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the United States Embassy Samoa and UN Women.
“There is a growing awareness that harassment of women in the workplace – or anyone – takes many forms, from offensive behaviour to sexual harassment, and it is an unacceptable form of violence against women,” said Papali’i Mele Maualaivao, UN Women Country Programme Coordinator for Samoa.
“Along with this awareness has come recognition of the need for proactive strategies to facilitate employees’ safety at work and to reduce employers’ economic losses associated with employees’ experience with gender-based violence.”
Tony Greubel, Charge d’Affaires, US Embassy Samoa said, “preventing violence against women and girls is everybody’s business.”
“When gender-based violence occurs, both within and outside of the workplace, the detrimental effects are substantial and so, as businesses and individuals within our communities, we need to recognize the need to contribute to the prevention of gender-based violence and to improve our ability to support survivors.”
This is the first time Samoa Chamber of Commerce has partnered with UN Women to address violence in the workplace and initiate the discussions of how the private sector can contribute to ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG).
Lemauga Hobart Va’ai, Chief Executive Officer for the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, said it is promising to see such high levels of locally driven support to end sexual harassment in the workplace.
“We are proud SSAB has truly been a leader in creating a work environment where survivors are nurtured and supported. We hope that many other businesses will also take a lead role in stopping workplace harassment and to ensure the workplace is a safe and supportive place for survivors of violence against women and girls.”
The event is linked to the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence that started on the 25 November and concluded on 10 December to mark Human Rights Day.