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Sexual Harassment at Work

Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination, regardless of sex, in a context of unequal power relations, such as a workplace and/or gender hierarchy. It can take the form of several acts, including rape, other aggressive touching, forced viewing of pornography, taking and circulating unwanted/non-consensual sexual photographs, as well as sexual verbal behavior. Definitions should clarify, not trivialize, make moral judgments or make degrading psychological assessments.

Inequality Factors

Race, ethnicity, age, disability, nationality, religion and any other social vulnerability, such as poverty, are structural factors that make certain groups and individuals the majority victims of sexual violence. In these cases, those responsible use their position of power and privilege to avoid the risk of reporting (increasing impunity).

Unwelcome Conduct

Experience can be of two types: 1) a work environment in which sexual harassment is widespread or persistent, or in which a single serious incident occurs, or 2) a proposal or execution of an exchange of a labor benefit or loss thereof in exchange for sexual submission. Both types are equally serious.


The concept of "consent" is a criminal law term that is usually satisfied with the acceptance of sex under conditions of unequal power, which is contrary to the requirements of equality standards.

Source: UN Women

Political Violence Against Women

Violence against women in politics is a form of gender-based violence against women (VAW-P). The VAW-P refers to any act or threat of physical, sexual or psychological violence that prevents women from exercising and realizing their political rights, as well as certain human rights. The VAW-P manifests itself in different gender-specific ways, including the following examples.

Sexual Violence

This includes sexual harassment, unwanted insinuations and sexual assaults, rape, threats with a sexual component or sexual or pornographic images modified with the intention of publicly questioning women’s abilities and humiliating them.

Psychological Violence

These include threats, defamation, harassment, online abuse and economic violence, such as denial of pay or political funding, theft or damage to property.

Victims and Perpetrators

Among the victims and survivors of the VAW-P are public office holders, candidates, political sympathizers, voters, election workers, observers and public officials. In more general public life, civil society activists, media workers and human rights defenders can also be targets of violence. Their families or activists associated with these women are also affected. Women facing multiple interrelated forms of discrimination (e.g. depending on age, sexual orientation and gender identity or ethnicity) and those with certain political views or associated with human rights activism are likely to be more vulnerable to violence.


The VAW-P can be carried out by other politicians, representatives, relatives and unknown persons, voters, traditional or religious leaders, political opponents and members of political parties, media, journalists or state actors, among other actors and communities, both online and offline, and in public or private life. On the Internet, acts of violence can be committed by all the same people, anonymous trolls and bots.

Source: UN Women

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