Domestic Workers’ Agency Against Workplace Sexual Harassment: The Role of Social Norms in Bangladesh

This article examines the relationship between social norms, gendered agency, and workplace sexual harassment among young female domestic workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With 1.3 million domestic workers in the country, the private nature of their work makes them vulnerable to harassment. The study investigates the strategies employed by these workers to protect themselves and explores the factors influencing their decision to report incidents. Based on interviews, focus group discussions, and participatory exercises with domestic workers, utilizes a case-study approach to explore how young female domestic workers in Dhaka navigate workplace sexual harassment and the strategies they employ for self-protection. Findings reveal the prevalence of informal tactics used to minimize risks, with limited formal complaints. The paper emphasizes the need to go beyond legal reforms, suggesting the importance of shifting societal discourse on women’s sexuality, fostering community connections, and transforming perceptions of protection providers to strengthen agency and combat sexual harassment.

Authors: Nazneen, Sohela; Huq, Lopita
Type: Journal Article
Year: 2023