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Women's rights groups confronted by a global problem

By Satarupa Bhattacharjya | China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-07 08:58

Sexual misconduct occurs on all continents. While data is not always readily or comprehensively available for some countries, most women's rights organizations agree the problem is universal.

In addition, reporting varies in different parts of the world. In patriarchal societies, women feel less empowered to reveal misconduct, according to social workers.

Women feel harassed in public areas and often change routes or dress conservatively in some countries to avoid harassment, according to Action-Aid, a South African nonprofit organization.

Nearly half of working women worldwide are in vulnerable employment, according to UN Women.

Citing a 2016 survey, the agency's website states that at least one in four women in Washington have experienced some form of sexual harassment on public transportation. One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyberharassment since the age of 15, and 23 percent of female undergraduates reported having experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct in a survey across 27 universities in the United States in 2015.

At least 144 countries have laws on sexual harassment, but not all meet international standards or are implemented, according to UN Women.

Ironically, a report published by The Guardian in Britain in January suggested a "culture of impunity" in UN offices, where employees have made allegations of sexual misconduct.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in February, "No individual serving under the UN flag should be associated with sexual exploitation and abuse."

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