GROUP PHOTO: Speaker Anita Among with Parliament female staff shortly after their meeting at Hotel Africana, today
EALIER today, Rt. Hon. Annet Anita Among, Speaker Parliament met the female staff of Parliament of Uganda at Hotel Africana in Kampala, who joined the Parliamentary service in recent years.
Speaker appreciated them for what she referred as distinguished service they render to the legislature.
Anita Among called upon employers to safeguard their employees against sexual harassment in the workplaces that is usually perpetuated by men against women. She noted that no woman should have to tolerate such a conduct as it violates the respect and dignity of the victim.
During this meeting, Ms. Anita Among implored female employees to speak up against any form of sexual harassment that they experience at work.
Among said, at Parliament, her administration recognizes the roles female staff play in aiding the performance and excellence of the Legislature.
She called on them to maintain unity of purpose, cooperation and team work as the Parliamentary Service undergoes strategic changes and growth.
Madam Speaker said she is aware that women at the workplace face unique realities, “And there is need for us to openly deliberate upon such realities to make the workplace a better environment for us all.”
Without mincing words, Rt. Hon. Anita Among noted that, “I am aware that one of the main challenges faced by women in a work environment is sexual harassment, usually in the form of unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advances, with promises of rewards and favours.”
The Bukedea district woman Member of Parliament said, sometimes it may take even wilder forms devoid of requests for sexual favours but forms such as verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
“The Parliamentary Commission has a fully-fledged anti-sexual harassment policy enshrined in Section 9 of the Parliamentary Service Human Resource Policy Manual.
The same policy also stipulates the complaints procedure in terms of how such cases are reported and handled so as to ensure utmost confidentiality.” Anita told female staff at Parliament.
She therefore asked them not to condone sexual harassment,but fight it if it surfaces.
“Today’s meeting is a wakeup call to you all, including other workplaces, to condone sexual harassment. Let us fight this iniquity together. Vices of this nature strive when victims keep quiet. It therefore requires us to be open about it so we can confront it and its perpetrators head on. My position is steadfast and clear; No person is too powerful to be confronted. I urged our girls to feel free to approach me or a colleague they are comfortable with, and report any form of sexual harassment you are suffering.” Said Speaker Anita Among.
She urged the Clerk to Parliament to ensure that our policies and regulations decisively deal with any forms of exploitation or discrimination based on gender, creed, religion or any other socio-cultural variable.
She re-echoed her vision for the Parliamentary Service that it is an all-inclusive, united, cohesive and productive workforce that depicts a national image and character.
Speaker asked female staff to work confidently and securely knowing that her administration will not condone any form of exploitation.
She also urged them to uphold high levels of professionalism at the workplace in the way they dress, present themselves and relate with their colleagues.
At an appropriate time, Speaker promised to also meet the male staff at Parliament and have a candid discussion with them saying professionalism helps to draw boundaries and avoid transgressions in human interactions.
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