Briefing 3.2
Why verbal, physical and sexual harassment is so pervasive in global production

1. Introduction

This briefing looks in more depth at the extent of gender-based violence in global supply chains and the reasons why women and men working at the bottom of global supply chains may be vulnerable to violence and sexual harassment.

Summary of key points

  • Global supply chains may present characteristics that put workers in situations of particular vulnerability.
  • Certain organizational and workplace characteristics have been demonstrated to contribute to the prevalence of violence and sexual harassment in global supply chains.
  • The issue is rarely reported and is often invisible; and there is an absence of human resources policies to address sexual harassment.
  • Risks are reinforced by the fact that many workers are often young migrant/indigenous workers, who work in precarious and casual work and in workplaces with low unionization.
  • Occupational segregation, where women predominate in lower-skilled jobs and men in supervisory and managerial positions, further reinforces a culture where women workers have low value and status.