Draft Directive on sexual harassment in the workplace presented for the first time


In the lead up to International Women’s Day, legal and gender experts from government branches and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) discussed a new draft Directive. This Directive aims at closing considerable gaps in legal provisions concerning sexual harassment in government offices in Ethiopia.

During a workshop organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA), Mrs. Heberet Abahoy, a well-respected expert on gender studies, analyzed the different global and local contexts and understandings of sexual harassment. She also offered a detailed scrutiny of the gaps observed in Ethiopian legal provisions, which was based on several in depth investigations and observations.

In response to those challenges, Ms. Meskerem Girma, Senior Expert on Gender Trainings in the Public Service and Human Resource Development Ministry, then presented the draft Directive aimed at preventing and controlling sexual harassment in government offices. It was the first time that this draft had been presented outside the responsible Ministry. The draft was widely appreciated by representatives from the Ministry of Women, Children & Youth Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Police Commission, the Human Rights Council, the Addis Ababa University’s Law Faculty and different CSOs.

The workshop offered an important platform for intensified lobbying towards the promulgation of effective legal provisions aimed at preventing and controlling sexual harassment in Ethiopia. The need for a comprehensive legislation was a consensus widely shared amongst the participants.