‘EU Parliament too’: Motion to defeat gender based violence and mobbing in the workplace

Brussels 11 Sept 2018 – A call from within the EU Parliament for a new comprehensive legislation to protect victims of gender based mobbing, harassment and violence in the workplace.

The evidence based report of MEP Pina Picierno, S&D from the is going to be voted in view of a resolution to bring end to discrimination against women at work within the EU 27 countries.

Data show 10% of EU women into work has been hit by various forms of mobbing, sexual harassment, bullying, and aggressive behaviours both perpetrated by seniors and colleagues at work and, though in the majority of cases offenders are men, in many cases women are perpetrators of oppressive behaviour leading other women to leave their jobs.

The alarming evidence the report is bringing forward is that violence at work is under reported. The reasons why victims are not reporting being harassed or mobbed at work are diverse; among the most frequent: fear of retaliation, fear to lose the job, lack of access to justice and perceived scarce likelihood to win the case in a legal battle, lack of sufficient awareness of what is happening to victims is a criminal offence, isolation and lack of support by family or social environment.

While highlighting the roots of the issue affecting millions of women to explain the high extent of non reported violence, Picierno mentions “patriarchy”, a cultural set of mind leading to the acceptance of male superiority as natural and just; this can be also unconscious and ingrained by the family.

Though as general perception, patriarchy belongs to southern countries, figures show in northern Europe the rate of incidence and acceptance of harassment and mobbing in the workplace is high.

In the UK the Opinium poll issued in 2017 found over 2.5 million women (20%) report being a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace confirming the phenomenon is still widely unreported: 58 per cent of women who have experienced sexual harassment did not report it to the company the harassment took place in.

In Denmark a study issued in 2016 by Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (the Economic Council of the Labour Movement) revealed that every fourth woman in Denmark has experienced sexual harassment or bullying at work in 2015,

In France official figures from  Fonds Social Europeen show one into five women experienced sexual harassment at work, 30% did not talk about it with anybody and only 5% went into court.

In Italy official figures from Istat (data collected over 2015 /16) show 167 thousands women between 15 and 65 years (1,1%), currently or previously into work, received at least once over the previous three years a threat or blackmail in change of career advancement or to simply keep their job. The general context counts more than two million workers (2.633.000) (9% of total Italian working class) have experienced mobbing at work (figures Istat 2010).

Here below the official figures from the survey on European Working Conditions by country separating bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.