First lady Janja Lula da Silva received on Tuesday night (4), at the Planalto Palace, a group of actresses and screenwriters who accuse the former director of TV Globo Marcius Melhem of harassment. The meeting, in Brasilia, served to discuss a new law with rules for preventing and combating sexual harassment in the workplace.
The artists’ meeting with Janja was preceded by a meeting with the Minister of Women, Cida Gonçalves, who announced the creation of a working group precisely to deal with this new legal framework.
The idea of the Brazilian government is to create an interministerial working group, so that different fronts of the government can debate the issue, not dealing with specific cases, but about a new legal framework, with preventive and confrontation measures.
Conversations about the new law against sexual harassment are inspired by the debate that preceded the Maria da Penha Law. This Tuesday, ten women participated in the meetings with minister Cida Gonçalves and first lady Janja, including witnesses and victims of the Marcius Melhem case.
On March 24, the group spoke for the first time publicly about the sexual harassment practiced by the former director of TV Globo, in an interview with Metrópoles. The investigation into Melhem’s conduct is being conducted by the Civil Police and the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro. Since he was denounced by the actresses, Melhem denies the accusations.
“The law will be a step forward for these guidelines to become clear rules, with rights and duties so that the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace is effective. It is not by chance that we call it the ‘We Are Many Law’. Sexual harassment, unfortunately, it is something that happens daily in countless workplaces and cannot be treated as isolated cases and, therefore, we are not here to deal with a specific case. We have to fight the problem and prevent it accordingly”, says the attorney Mayra Cotta, who represents the victims in a judicial process that is being held in secrecy in Rio de Janeiro.
Almost half of women in Brazil have been sexually harassed in their professional areas. Only 22% of them decide to denounce, given the impunity of the aggressors, the fear of retaliation and the lack of institutional responses. The data comes from a Linkedin survey with the consultancy Think Olga.
The starting point for the approval of a new law is Convention 190 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which recognized, in 2019, violence and harassment, including gender-based, as violations of human rights and serious threats to equality. of opportunities in the market.
The document provides global guidelines for combating these practices. It clarifies, for example, what should be understood by violence and harassment in the world of work, in addition to indicating what measures should be taken to prevent and deal with these situations, and by whom.
President Lula has already forwarded the convention to Congress for Brazil to be a signatory. Upon joining, the country undertakes to establish prevention, protection and reparation mechanisms, as well as guidance and dissemination of information on these practices.
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