Sexual harassment in the informal economy: Farmworkers and domestic workers

Public attention on sexual harassment has been significantly greater in the era of MeToo than previously. Yet, many workers await adequate protection and enjoyment of their right to be free from sexual harassment in the world of work.

This discussion paper focuses on sexual harassment of workers in the informal economy, with a focus on farmworkers and domestic workers. It seeks to shed light on the experiences of those who are, by definition, unrecorded, unrecognised, and unprotected.

This paper offers a gender analysis of the informal economy with an intersectional focus on sexual harassment. The lack of social and legal protections available to these workers is identified as a key factor in heightening their vulnerability, impacting their ability to leave or influence abusive workplaces and to seek justice. The paper identifies sector-specific challenges to ending sexual harassment in farm work and domestic work and includes examples of how women’s and workers organizations have tackled this problem.

The paper concludes by offering suggestions for action by governments and civil society organizations. The paper contributes to efforts that seek to realize the right to a world of work free from sexual harassment for workers in the informal economy.

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