Gender Equality

Sexual harassment or threats of sexual nature used to coerce work, to recruit or promote


All workers have the right to be free from discrimination based on their sex or gender. Sexual harassment in the workplace may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, verbal or physical conduct, gestures of a sexual nature, or any other behaviour of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected to cause a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.


Sexual coercion in the workplace may involve unwanted sexual attention combined with job-related pressures to force compliance. These pressures may include bribes and threats, such as offering or implying a promotion is possible in exchange for sexual favours, or threatening termination of employment, inferior job duties and lower remuneration if sexual demands are not met.


Leadership roles in the workplace, including managers, CEOs and board members, are still overwhelmingly dominated by men. When any single gender, socioeconomic and/or cultural group dominates workplace leadership positions, its biases strongly influence workplace culture and policy, which can lead to abuses of power. In male-dominated workplaces, women and people from diverse backgrounds may have limited avenues to stop harassment or coercion and may be forced to endure such behaviour because of their financial dependence on their job.


For people who are working in casual, temporary or insecure work positions, being sexually harassed or threatened at work can harm their job prospects, income, mental health and personal relationships.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958 (No. 111)
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Articles 2(2), (3) and (26)



SDG 5.1

Eliminating sexual harassment and coercion in the workplace may lead to the achievement of SDG 5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

SDG 5.2
Eliminating sexual harassment and coercion in the workplace also furthers SDG 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.