Yesterday (5th March), Sir David accompanied by constituent Michelle Russell, joined descendant of the suffragettes Helen Pankhurst is at Westminster to ask MPs to commit to ending workplace harassment, both in the UK and globally.
More than half of UK women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. Michelle has her own story to tell and has campaigned tirelessly on this important issue.
Fawcett Society research has also found that UK women who work in retail, hospitality and many other sectors that deal with customers and clients on a daily basis have little protection from their employer when facing harassment from third parties.
The campaign will demand that the UK government reinstate third-party harassment laws, and introduce a duty on employers to prevent harassment.
This year, the government has three key opportunities to improve working conditions for women in the UK and globally:
- Introduce a legal duty on employers
- In the UK, more than half of women polled by the TUC have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- The only way we can change workplace culture is to make it a proactive requirement.
- We have to move from treating this issue as a problem for the individual woman to deal with, to one that the organisation owns.
- Reinstate third party harassment laws
- Women in the UK who work in retail, hospitality, and many other sectors that deal with customers and clients on a daily basis currently have little protection from their employer when facing harassment from third parties.
- In 2013, the Government repealed Section 40 of the Equality Act, so if you are harassed by a customer or client, you have fewer legal rights.
- Bringing back section 40 of the Equality Act would be a clear and easy way of dealing with third party harassment.
- Support a progressive global law
- Worldwide, between 40% and 50% of women experience sexual harassment at work, yet more than one-third of the world's countries do not have any laws prohibiting workplace harassment and there is no international legal standard specifically for protecting women at work from these abuses.
- Governments, employers’ organisations and trade unions are currently considering a new global law – the UK government must back a version that protects the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women
Sir David has written to both the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP,Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities, and the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Minister of State for Employment. He has also pledged his commitment to ending violence and harassment in the workplace, in the UK and globally.