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29.04.2004 Regional News

Working women urged to report male bosses' sexual advances

By GNA

Ho, April 29, GNA - A Law lecturer at the Ho Polytechnic on Wednesday urged working women to garner the courage to report their superiors who make sexual advances towards them, to help curb the incessant incidents of sexual harassment at work places.

Mr Ben Honyenugah warned that if women gave in to such overtures, they could be left with a shattered ego, which would make them lose self-confidence and concentration at work.

He was speaking on "Challenges of Women In Public Life" at a lecture to celebrate the Women's Commission Day at the Ho Polytechnic. "If you don't report and you keep it, the affair could haunt you for years", Mr Honyenugah told the audience.

He maintained that playing to sexual dictates of male bosses was wrong and slammed women who use their feminine charms to get favours at work and not on merit, adding that the new labour law protected both female and male workers who would stand up to such deviant behaviour of bosses.

Mr Honyenugah noted that there were many women achievers who got to the summit of their profession through hard work and display of expertise.

He called for the restructuring of the work place environment to suit nursing mothers, suggesting that that the current period of maternity leave granted to women was oppressive.

Mr Honyenugah regretted that though there were provisions in the Constitution, which sought to ensure that women were accorded equal rights in training and promotion at work places, women still faced some discrimination.

He said out of 15 Chief Directors appointed in the Civil Service in 1995, none were women and that only 15 out of 138 Directors appointed at the same time were women.

Mr Honyenugah blamed women for sometimes "being their own enemies" as shown often in their hostile attitude towards women superiors. He said though the way a woman dressed was no good reason for sexual harassment from men, it was only prudent that women were not suggestive in their dressing.

Mrs Janet Owusu-Adjah, Lecturer in the Catering Department of the Polytechnic, said education had transformed the African woman from her monotonous role of a homemaker into an income earner as well. She said though the multiple roles women play now was strenuous, they would rather counsel their male counterparts to help them, than abandon their traditional roles, which makes them total women.

Miss Mercy Donu, Women's Commissioner urged women in the Polytechnics to contribute to the debate on the Domestic Violence Bill and also participate in politics at all levels.

She said women any where should lead dignified lives "in order to gain the respect of our male counterparts", adding that women should cooperate to fight for their rights and not be seen as being "enemies of ourselves".

Miss Donu urged educated women to educate others on their rights and what the women emancipation drive was expected to achieve. 29 Apr. 04

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