Sexual harassment in the workplace : a case study of women's experiences at Walter Sisulu University (WSU), Eastern Cape.
Goba-Malinga, Nhlanhlenhle Una.
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This study looks at sexual harassment of women on the staff at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in the Eastern Cape, a province in South Africa. The topic also has relevance for other institutions which fall under the Department of Higher Education and to the world of work generally where women are usually more vulnerable than men to this type of unsolicited attention. Despite the Labour Relations Act (LRA) of 1995 and the Employment Equity Act (EEA) Act 66 of 1995, sexual harassment is an insidious problem which often goes unreported. When permission was granted to conduct this study at WSU (see Appendix E), 25 female academics and 10 female members of the support staff agreed to participate. Qualitative research was the methodology used and included face-to-face interviews with the above individuals and also focus group interviews. Participants felt demeaned by the fact that gender was used as a form of social control. Patriarchal issues in society were seen to be linked to male domination and thus power and privilege for the perpetrators. In academia most disciplines now have feminist associations. The study draws from, and contributes to, bodies of knowledge that fall under gender studies: anthropology, history, sociology and psychology. In addition, there are references to the postmodern feminist theory, the radical feminist theory, and theories pertaining to sexual harassment. This is an effort to make a contribution to research on this type of chauvinism, and it is hoped that the findings, when published, will elicit appropriate action at WSU and in other affected environments where this scourge rears its head.