Friday March 16, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Movement offers gender sensitization training to prevent sexual harassment to public service transport associations

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement is offering to conduct gender sensitization training to members of the Fiji Taxi Association as well to members of other public service transport associations.

The Movement feels this is needed in light of the misconception expressed by the General Secretary of the Fiji Taxi Association Rishi Ram, yesterday.

“Sexual harassment has nothing to do with clothing and we urge all public service transport associations to work with us to eradicate such behaviour,” said FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo.

Ram commented in the media yesterday that women should “dress appropriately” in order to avoid sexual harassment by taxi drivers.

“Women, particularly young women and women from marginalized groups, experience harassment whether they are dressed in a suluā€jaba, in a salwaar kameez or in a denim skirt. Sexual harassment is a crime which reflects the unequal power relations between men and women.”

When men view women as sexual objects than as equals then harassment and discrimination against women will persist.

“Sexual harassment by public service drivers is a wide problem that has been identified by young women leaders as a critical issue that must be addressed,” said Buadromo.

Ram’s comments came just a week after the Emerging Leaders’ Forum Alumni (ELFA), graduates of FWRM’s Young Women in Leadership Programme, held a joint press conference with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on International Women’s Day to address sexual harassment of women on public service transport.

During the press conference, members of ELFA highlighted their experiences of sexual harassment they encountered while using public service transport.

“We call on all public service transport associations to join the LTA and ELFA in ending sexual harassment by public service drivers and as a first step, we would like to offer the union members some training on the nature of sexual harassment, its underlying causes and effects and more importantly what the union members can do to prevent discriminatory practices and violence against women,” Buadromo said.

ENDS.

For information or queries please contact FWRM on 331 2711 / 8677330 or email