Call for more protection against sexual harassment in workplace

A major review of women’s rights in Britain has found “failures” in many areas of life, including violence and harassment at work.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) made a series of recommendations aimed at protecting women from sexual harassment or violence and strengthening support services.

Its report also stressed the importance of making sure equality and human rights protections are not watered down as the UK leaves the European Union.

Women and girls should be able to feel safe in their everyday lives, said the commission, adding that only 15% of survivors of sexual violence contact the police.

EHRC chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said: “There is a lot to celebrate in terms of the awareness and realisation of women’s rights right now. It’s been 100 years since some women got the vote, forced marriage has been criminalised, and we’ve seen great strides in the workplace through shared parental leave and the successful introduction of gender pay gap regulations.

“Yet it is estimated that only 15% of survivors of sexual violence report their experience to the police, and social movements such as #MeToo continue to shine a spotlight on areas where women are being failed.

“The priority must now be ensuring that women and girls of all ages can enjoy their basic right to feel safe in their everyday lives. Our recommendations are intended to improve the lives of women and girls and to protect their fundamental rights. This centenary year is a good time to take action.”

Recommendations include a statutory code of practice on sexual harassment at work, offering Universal Credit as single payments to individuals, and reducing barriers to women’s participation in politics.

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