What will it take? Promoting cultural change to end sexual harassment

Authors/editor(s): Purna Sen, UN Women’s Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Addressing Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

This discussion paper focuses on cultural change needed to end sexual harassment. It offers guidance to policymakers, employers, and universities on how to address this scourge, making sure that the needs of the victim–survivors are at the heart of all efforts.

The publication focuses on five areas of work to achieve lasting cultural change:

  • training to dislodge entrenched and discriminatory ideas on gender;
  • victim-focused work where victim and survivors lead;
  • rational reporting in order to remove judgment, retaliation, ensure victim safety and consequences for abusers;
  • zero tolerance against all forms of sexual harassment, both in principle and in practice; and
  • collective ownership of the need to change culture and attitudes and to establish common values, including the need for bystanders to intervene.

It includes a chapter on “Law and culture” by Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon, UN Women Advisor for addressing sexual harassment; a review on training by Professor Liz Kelly; and 21 other contributions from the United Nations and beyond, addressing the question of the needed cultural change to end sexual harassment.

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Languages available: English

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Bibliographic information

Subject area(s): Ending violence against women and girls; Gender discrimination; Gender equality and inequality; Gender equality and women’s empowerment; Gender power relations; Sexual harassment

Resource type: Discussion papers

UN Women office involved in publication: UN Women Headquarters

Publication year: 2019

Number of pages: 72

Publishing entities: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)