IDS Bulletin 51.2

Collective Action for Accountability on Sexual Harassment: Global Perspectives

Published on 21 September 2020

The #MeToo movement that spread across the internet in 2017 sparked a focus on sexual harassment as an international issue. However, collective action against sexual harassment did not start with the #MeToo campaign. Grass-roots work that has been taking place for years against sexual harassment has been hidden by the more recent spotlight on a (white) Western perspective.

IDS Bulletin 51.2
© Suzanne Lee/Panos Pictures.

This IDS Bulletin presents the genealogy of collective action around countering sexual harassment and looks at the power dynamics that have informed the representation of that collective action.

It seeks to pluralise voices, experiences, and insights that offer opportunities for learning, and to show the pathways for mobilising for accountability.

The articles here specifically aim to address the questions of ‘What triggers and enables collective action for countering sexual harassment to hold powerholders accountable? Under what conditions is it effective, and under what circumstances is it stalled?’ Perspectives are shared from Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, and Uganda. They demonstrate a whole spectrum of experiences from well-defined and visible collective action to contexts where voices are still silenced.

Collective action, this IDS Bulletin argues, is critical for transforming sexual harassment into an issue that is everybody’s business, and accountability must be for the long haul. Recognising the successes of activists fighting sexual harassment, wherever they are located, is essential to the global fight against this phenomenon.


Collective Struggles Against Sexual Harassment: What We Have Learnt About Pathways to Accountability and their Outcomes
Mariz Tadros and Jenny Edwards

Fighting Sexual Harassment on Campus: How Local Contexts of Different Universities Affect the Dynamics and Outcome of these Efforts
Amal Hamada, Ahmed Kheir, Enas Hamdy and Heba Youssif

Women Politicians Navigating the ‘Hostile Environment’ in Pakistan
Ayesha Khan, Zonia Yousuf and Sana Naqvi

‘Me Too’ and the ‘List’ – Power Dynamics, Shame, and Accountability in Indian Academia
Adrija Dey

Multilevel Responses to Sexual Violence in Schools in West Africa
Jordan J. Steiner and Anne M. Spear

Uniting Against the Tides: Filipino ‘Shefarers’ Organising Against Sexual Harassment
Lucia Tangi

Disruption and Design: Crowdmapping Young Women’s Experience in Cities
Sophie Tanner, Nicole Kalms, Hayley Cull, Gill Matthewson and Anthony Aisenberg

Collective Silence and Accountability for Sexual Harassment in Lebanon
Menaal Munshey

Accountability with Teeth
Maha El Said


Notes on Contributors

Cite this publication

Tadros, M. and Edwards, J. (2020) ‘Collective Action for Accountability on Sexual Harassment: Global Perspectives', IDS Bulletin 51.2, Brighton: IDS


Mariz Tadros

Director (CREID)

Jenny Edwards

Project Manager

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
0265 5012


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