Oxfam in Ghana, an NGO, has organised a conference on a draft model policy to check workplace sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country. 

The policy, which is currently in its draft form, addresses workplace harassment, gender-based violence and more inclusion for persons with disability.

It is expected that when the policy is finally adopted, the guidelines in it would become the litmus that organisations could use to strengthen their policies on SGBV at the workplace.

Those without an existing policy on SGBV could also adopt the guidelines.

Participants in the conference which was held in Accra yesterday included representatives of Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), Institute of Directors, the private sector, government agencies, the banking sector and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.


The Gender Advisor of Oxfam in Ghana, Thelma Akyere Hayford, said the policy would set the tone for a safer and more secure environment for all to contribute to nation building and development.

She said in drafting the policy, they looked at the SGBV statistics for 2021, which indicated that the private sector needed to be engaged more.

The participants

The participants

It also showed that although companies had policies on anti-sexual harassment and gender-based violence, there was not enough awareness of it, while its implementation was also an issue.

“So it was necessary that we look at the various organisations and come up with the guidelines that would be a litmus for organisations,” Ms Hayford added.


The Executive Director of WILDAF, Melody Darkey, said SGBV, including sexual harassment, was not only pervasive in the country, but also under reported due to stigma, fear of retaliation and the fear that justice would not be served once the issue was reported.

She said unchecked workplace SGBV had emotional and psychological effects on victims and survivors which manifested in various forms such as post traumatic stress, disorders, feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, loss of confidence and a general impaired mental health and well-being.

“Unchecked workplace SGBV will likely result in a toxic work environment which will affect productivity.

For example, unchecked issues of SGBV like sexual harassment can result in decreased productivity, reputational damage, legal liabilities and toxic work culture,” Ms Darkey added.

The Business Development Manager of Oxfam in Ghana, Rissi Assani, said several research conducted by the International Labour Organisation showed that 23 per cent of employees suffered one form of sexual harassment or violence at the workplace.

She hoped that the adoption of the policy, which was designed by Oxfam in Ghana, and co-funded by the European Union, would promote a conducive workplace environment free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

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