Workplace sexual harassment in agriculture is gaining recognition as a profound threat to the lives and health of farmworkers, and the integrity of our rural jobs and communities. Recent studies estimate female farmworkers face sexual harassment at a rate 2-3 times higher than other work sectors. Many farms lack appropriate training and prevention programs to protect workers and are seeking assistance. The PNASH Center has been working with stakeholders throughout Washington state to develop a sexual harassment prevention program specific to the needs of this industry and culturally appropriate for Latino farmworkers.
Dr. Victoria Breckwich Vasquez and Dr. Jody Early are working with farmworkers, experts, advocates, and growers across Washington state to better understand the nature of this problem, explore the underlying causes, and develop solutions. The results of this research endeavor and the perspectives of workers and experts are being used to inform the development of the Workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention Toolkit. This tool kit will provide farms with the resources they need to implement a comprehensive sexual harassment prevention program on their operations, with resources in English and Spanish, including an educational curriculum and training video, and key recommendations for developing Sexual Harassment policies in the workplace.
Health & Safety of Agricultural Women Workers Study
- PNASH publications:
- Kim NJ, Vásquez VB, Torres E, Nicola RM, Karr C. Breaking the Silence: Sexual Harassment of Mexican Women Farmworkers. J Agromedicine. 2016;21(2):154-62. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2016.1143903.
- Kominers S et al. Working in Fear, Sexual Violence Against Women Farmworkers in the United States: A Literature Review. Oxfam America Inc. 2015. Literature Review.
- The Preventing Sexual Harassment in Agriculture Project Trailer provides an overview of the issue from the perspective of various stakeholders and farmworkers share some of their experiences with workplace sexual harassment.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention Wallet Cards (English and Spanish) are a pocket-sized resource for farmworkers with information on their rights and key resources.This resource can be adapted to include resources from other regions or states.
- Spanish-Language Radionovela on Sexual Harassment Prevention, developed in collaboration with NCEC/Radio KDNA, follows the story of a female farmworker encountering sexual harassment and includes tips on identifying, preventing, and reporting the harassment.
- See the Sexual Harassment Prevention in Agriculture flier to learn about the research efforts, stakeholder collaboration, and available resources.
- Advisory Group Flier for farm owners, managers, or workers who would like to share their input.
The Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment
The Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment (WCEFSH) continues to work toward creating and sustaining healthy and safe agricultural workplaces and communities. The WCEFSH brings together farmworkers, allies, experts, and state officials in a collective effort to address farmworker sexual harassment through advocacy, education and policy. This Coalition was created to ensure that farmworker health and safety is a priority in the state of Washington and that supportive policies and media reflect this vision. WCEFSH was formally launched in November 2017 and currently boasts 21 organizational members.
Safe, healthy, and thriving agricultural communities in Washington state.
The purpose of the Coalition is to bring attention to the problem of sexual harassment in agriculture and to promote policy action that protects farmworker health and safety in Washington state.
To eliminate farmworker sexual harassment through media attention, grassroots education and policy action with multiple stakeholders including farmworkers, advocates, community leaders and concerned communities.
- Construct and implement a successful statewide media communications that result in sustained attention to the problem of sexual harassment in agriculture. (Ongoing)
- Work with key communities (including farmworkers, supervisors and growers) on educational strategies that inform them of their rights and responsibilities using engaging and culturally-tailored methods. (Ongoing)
- Explore options and develop public policy solutions that eliminate sexual harassment in agriculture and protect farmworker health and safety.
Founding Partners and Advisories
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Northwest Justice Project, Radio KDNA/Northwest Communities Education Center, Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, Washington State Human Rights Commission
Join the Effort
The Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment was created to ensure that farmworker health and safety is a priority in the state of Washington. To find out how you can be involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are seeking donations to complete the educational video and curriculum for agricultural workplaces. For more information on how you can support this work, email email@example.com.
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Other Recommended Resources
- See Victoria Breckwich Vásquez’ Testimony to the Washington State House of Labor and Workplace Standards Committee on November 16, 2017.
- “Rape in the Fields," is a documentary that draws attention to the challenges and threats many migrant women face while working in the fields.
- Visit the Washington State Human Rights Commission webpage, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, to see a flier in Spanish describing the roles, responsibilities, and rights of the employers and employees.
- Read the PBS - FRONTLINE Update, Three Plans to Stop Rape in the Fields, to learn about the three major solutions to prevent sexual harassment developed by legislators, advocates, and industry partners.
- The Bandana project was a national campaign developed by Alianza Nacional de Campesinas which used bandanas to demonstrate a symbol of solidarity to end sexual violence again women farmworkers https://www.alianzanacionaldecampesinas.org/.
- Acoso sexual en industria agrícola sigue bajo la sombra | El Sol de Yakima, November 16, 2017
- Where is the #METOO for sexual harassment against immigrant workers? | Seattle Times, November 13, 2017
- Still silenced: sexual harassment of farm workers rarely makes headlines | Yakima Herald, November 11, 2017
- Forum shines spotlight on sexual harassment of farm workers | Yakima Herald, September 24, 2016
- Bandanas Connect Students with Farmworkers | UW Bothell News May 5, 2016
- Effort to Stymie Sex Abuse of Female Farmworkers | UW Health Sciences Newsbeat, May 29, 2014