Monday, April 7, 2008

The Bandana Project: Tackling Sexual Harassment of Farmworking Women

Bilde Jack Sargent of EEO News fame, sends along this worthwhile piece from the Montgomery Advertiser (photo credit to left by David Bundy):

Residents of more than 40 cities across the country are taking a stand against the sexual harass­ment and abuse of farmworker women as part of the "Bandana Project," a partnership between the Southern Poverty Law Center and community groups, universi­ties and other organizations.

The project has adopted the bandana as a symbol of solidarity to end this abuse because many farmworker women use bandanas on the job to cover their faces and bodies in an attempt to ward off unwanted sexual attention that of­ten leads to rape. The exhibit was launched at the Civil Rights Me­morial Center on Thursday, the national day of action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year's theme is sexual assault in the workplace.

William R. Tamayo, regional attorney for the Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission in San Francisco, wrote in a 2000 re­port that "the sexual harassment of farmworker women is a wide­spread problem." In an earlier sur­vey of farmworker women in Cali­fornia, 90 percent of the women questioned said that sexual ha­rassment was a major problem on the job.

As the article goes on to say, this a great area to focus attention on because these workers believe they are often powerless to stop this workplace abuse: ""Often in these precarious situ­ations, farmworker women are ashamed for themselves and their families and afraid of losing their jobs," Mónica Ramírez, project di­rector for Esperanza: The Immi­grant Women's Legal Initiative of the SPLC said in a statement."


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