Training for Lebanese SMEs on the Drafting of Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines and Guidelines and Policies
On June 10th, 2017, the KIP Project, in partnership with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), and the Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) will gather 25 managers and senior HR staff from Lebanese Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for a full-day training workshop at the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut focused on the drafting and implementation of anti-sexual harassment guidelines within organizations’ internal policies and regulations.
This training workshop comes on the heels of the project’s Multidisciplinary Conference on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment which was held earlier this year at the Olayan School of Business. The sessions included more than 100 panelists and 700+ attendees from across sectors and disciplines to discuss issues of discrimination and sexual harassment. At the close of the conference, it was clear that more efforts are needed to specifically and collaboratively push for policy change.
As a follow-up to this conference, and in direct alignment with the growing efforts of activists, civil society organizations, and government entities to promote safer workspaces within the Lebanese landscape, the upcoming training workshop is designed to provide a high-impact and effective forum for representatives from local SMEs to engage in drafting anti-sexual harassment guidelines, procedures, and/or policies that are relevant to their work settings. During the training the participants will also engage in devising relevant and preliminary implementation strategies. Ultimately, the target outcome of the training is to take concrete steps towards better combating workplace sexual harassment in Lebanon.
“Despite the absence of a sufficient legal framework protecting employees from sexual harassment, this workshop is designed to lead participants through a critical journey of reflection on the intersection between local socio-cultural and legal parameters, relevant jurisprudence, and global standards of human rights protection so as to arm them with the tools they need to draft their own anti-sexual harassment guidelines and policies” said Dr. Charlotte Karam, KIP Project Director. “Our aim is to bring together Lebanese industry leaders in small-to-medium sized companies and family businesses to help pave the way for safer workplaces- spaces where there is no tolerance for sexual harassment.”
Workshop trainers include lawyers Youmna Makhlouf and Layal Sakr, local experts who will offer an overview of conceptions and legal frameworks related to sexual harassment within the Lebanese context, as well as guidelines and practical applications for drafting policies. An international discussant, Dr. Lama Abu-Odeh, professor of law at Georgetown University with a specific knowledge of feminist jurisprudence, will be engaged in the training to provide a comparative perspective on the implementation of these policies within the workplace setting.
The workshop also serves as the latest step in the push for legal reform against sexual harassment in Lebanon. As it stands today, Lebanese labor laws do not include specific provisions related to sexual harassment at the workplace, and therefore do not recognize it as a form of discrimination or a violation of the employee’s right for work, privacy, mental health, and/or physical integrity. While a draft law criminalizing sexual harassment is being debated and discussed at the national level, the workshop hopes to serve as a model to empower other organizations and stakeholders to implement creative and sustainable solutions around related issues in Lebanon.
The training day is an example of the growing dialogue addressing issues of gender and sexuality at AUB generally, including the Title IX gender equity policy against discrimination under the Office of the President, the initiative for gender studies at AUB, the Keeper of the Lands Award at FAFS, the task force on the lives and careers of female faculty, student clubs that aim at raising awareness around gender and sexuality related issues on campus, and many other initiatives which KIP has collaborated with and supported over the last two years. It also comes in line with the multiple initiatives around gender and sexuality related issues represented by inter-faculty and faculty-specific efforts, including the business school.
“The Olayan School of Business and its community of business leaders, employers, employees and associated organizations have a huge role to play. We join the movement of responsible and engaged entities pushing for what is right, humane, and expected. Entities such as our partners LLWB and GCNL– two networks in Lebanon that uphold an inherent commitment to the promotion of gender equality, human rights, and labor rights through their efforts within the private sector. We do our part in pushing for legal reforms – hailing the efforts of the draft laws submitted in 2011, 2014 and more recently the draft law submitted by the Ministry of State for Women’s Affairs criminalizing sexual harassment in 2017. These steps are essential to help set the foundation for work environments that are conducive to healthier and happier employees, better career progression and success for all.” said Dr. Charlotte Karam, KIP Project Director.
For more information on the training or to participate, please visit www.thekipproject.info.
Further enquiries can be made to KIP Conference Coordinator, Ms. Aimee Ghanem, at firstname.lastname@example.org.