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Sexual harassment in an east African agribusiness supply chain

Jacobs, Susie, Brahic, B and Olaiya, MM (2015) Sexual harassment in an east African agribusiness supply chain. The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 26. ISSN 1035-3046


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This article discusses sexual harassment in the east African cut-flower and horticultural industry, based on research on 62 farms in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It argues that sexual harassment is fostered both by coercive labour conditions within global value chains and by existing hierarchical gender relations. The research finds that harassment is widespread, that many lack a vocabulary to describe or discuss this, and that female casual and temporary workers are most likely to be targeted. Action research coupled with organisation of workers, however, has been effective in giving ‘voice’ to those suffering harassment: this is a first step in a feminist labour mobilisation and policy formulation. Procedures against sexual harassment are beginning to be formulated: a key concern is implementation. Addressing sexual harassment is central in ensuring the security of working people, particularly the most marginalised.

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