Motion no: 8
Conference is deeply concerned by the compelling evidence of the increasing incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace, including sexist ‘jokes’ and ‘banter’, unwanted touching and the growing objectification of women and girls.
Congress notes that the NASUWT’s research indicates that one in five members has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace by a colleague, manager, parent or pupil since becoming a teacher.
Conference is concerned by the widespread reluctance among teachers and other staff to report harassment for fear of not being believed by employers and that even when this abuse is reported, in the majority of cases, little or no effective action is taken to by employers to address the harassment.
Conference asserts that this is not only having a damaging impact on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of women teachers, but is also creating a climate of premature sexualisation of children, and in particular young girls.
Conference affirms that schools should be places of safety and must be supported in tackling the problem of sexual harassment or violence towards either pupils or staff.
Conference therefore calls upon the ICTU to campaign for:
(i) a mandatory requirement on employers to record and report incidents of sexual harassment and abuse against staff in schools;
(ii) schools to foster an environment in which individuals can be confident that when reporting incidents of sexual harassment, such complaints will be taken seriously and acted upon;
(iii) increased awareness among employers that sexual harassment can intersect with other forms of prejudice and discrimination, including on grounds of age, class, community background, disability, gender identity, race/ethnicity, religion/belief or sexuality;
(iv) affiliates to work with other civil society organisations to end sexual harassment in the workplace and wider society and
(v) the introduction of legislation to give wider protection from third party harassment to all employees with protected characteristics.