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Project

The Gendered Price of Precarity

Marjoke Oosterom and Sohela Nazneen have won a British Academy Grant under the GCRF Youth Futures Call. The project, ‘The gendered price of precarity: Workplace sexual harassment and young women’s agency’, will focus on female workers in Uganda and Bangladesh. The study aims to contribute to an understanding of the processes of empowerment of young women, which may enable them to challenge sexual harassment at the workplace.

Since language is essential for voicing risks and incidents of sexual harassment, the study will pay specific attention to how women speak about their bodies and forms of sexual harassment. The interdisciplinary research team therefore involves linguists alongside political scientists and gender scholars. Overall, this two-year project (2020-2021) will primarily contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and decent work for all.

The project involves comparative case study research of agro-processing firm workers and informal domestic workers in Uganda and Bangladesh. Having a formal or informal job can influence work dynamics and differential risk to exposure to sexual harassment, with implications for young women’s voice and agency. The study will systematically compare work and gender dynamics across formal firm works and informal domestic workers in both countries. The qualitative research approach will involve innovative visual methods such as Body Mappings and Workplace Safety Audits. A cooperative inquiry with young men and women will ensure young people’s central involvement in the study and the inclusion of their perspectives on solutions.

Project partners are researchers at the School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and the Brac Institute for Governance and Development in Bangladesh. They are longstanding partners of IDS and the combined networks of all three partners will enable us to promote the research findings to national and international policy actors and civil society. Two civil society partners are directly involved in the project: Sobujer Obhijan Foundation (SOF) in Bangladesh; and the Institute of Social Transformation (IST) in Uganda). Both have longstanding experience in supporting women’s empowerment, including in the world of work. SOF and IST will play a crucial role by providing input into the study from a practitioner-activist perspective, and take the findings of the study forward.

Selected project outputs

Policy brief covering both countries: Tackling Workplace Sexual Harassment

Uganda

Youth research campaign video. Find out more about the campaign in this news story.

Bangladesh

Youth researchers at BIGD-BRAC shared findings on the workplace sexual harassment of domestic workers on the Promises Medical Bangla TV talk show: Watch the show via Facebook 

March 2022: Community workshops in the Kallyanpur area of Dhaka. The research team presented their findings and participants had a good open discussion. Along with researchers, one local government representatives, local and national level NGO workers, slum violence against women (VAW) committee members, community leaders, and some domestic workers were present. Find out more on the BIGD website.

BIGD-BRAC researchers and the youth research team have produced three policy briefs sharing their findings:

People

Image of Marjoke Oosterom

Marjoke Oosterom

Research Fellow

Image of Sohela Nazneen

Sohela Nazneen

Research Fellow

Image of Zoe Kamangira

Zoe Kamangira

Project Support Officer

Recent work

News

Sexual harassment common among young women workers in Bangladesh

New research reveals that young female workers (aged 18 to 24) in Bangladesh often experience sexual harassment at work, but their concerns about it are going ignored. Most do not dare to challenge men when witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment because of feelings of shame, and a lack of...

24 May 2022

Press release

Sexual harassment common among young women workers in Bangladesh

New research reveals that young female workers (aged 18 to 24) in Bangladesh often experience sexual harassment at work, but their concerns about it are going ignored. Most do not dare to challenge men when witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment because of feelings of shame, and a lack of...

24 May 2022

Brief

Tackling Workplace Sexual Harassment

IDS Policy Briefing 195

Based on case study research with factory and domestic workers in Bangladesh and Uganda, this briefing explains how social and gender norms constrain young women’s voices and agency in response to sexual harassment.

23 May 2022

News

Calling out workplace sexual harassment in Ugandan markets

Recently, as part of the Gendered Price of Precarity project, youth researchers have been looking into the experiences of women working in Ugandan markets. The emerging findings from the project show that most women working in markets in Uganda have no platforms for power and their voices are...

13 October 2021