April is National Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention Month. The agricultural industry needs to pay particular attention to the issue because it includes most characteristics of employment situations associated with high rates of harassment, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, including:
- working in an isolated context;
- lacking legal immigration status or having only a temporary work visa;
- working in a male-dominated job; and
- working in a setting with significant power differentials.
Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is using April to shine a light on this important topic. Several studies have found that 75%-80% of female farmworkers have experienced sexual harassment at work, compared to 50% in non-agricultural office settings as reported by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EFI website offers statistics, facts and study citations on harassment at work, links to access the ¡Basta! Preventing Sexual Harassment toolkit, which features videos in both English and Spanish, and educational materials that can be used in workplaces (posters, shareable graphics and a detailed fact sheet). The information and resources can be found at equitablefood.org/harassment, and all are provided free of charge.