Workplace Partnerships: Reaching Men through the Workplace
According to 2003 Department of Labor statistics, more than 73 million American men over age 16 work, and for many of them the workplace is their community: a central source of health and safety information, friendship, and sense of self-worth.
It’s becoming clearer every day that reaching men through the workplace needs to be a key component of gender-based violence prevention. This outreach will help bring about changes in attitudes that underlie gender-based violence: cultural definitions of masculinity that emphasize the role of the man as breadwinner, and are part of a network of assumptions that support the sexual division of labor between men (public/productive) and women (private/domestic).
Of more immediate concern, there is ample evidence that domestic violence and sexual abuse have a significant negative impact on workers and businesses.
For example, over half the corporate leaders surveyed in a 2002 study by Liz Claiborne Inc. knew of employees affected by domestic violence. And in a street survey of more than 7,000 women conducted by the Body Shop, significant numbers of women who were abused by intimate partners reported that it made them miss work, affected their job performance, and even made it difficult to keep their job.
Batterers’ work performance suffers as well: In an Employers Against Domestic Violence study of 29 convicted domestic violence offenders, most reported that they used company resources (phones, e-mail, and so on) to abuse their partners, made mistakes on the job as a result of their abusive behavior, and used paid time away from work to attend court.
Prevention Serves Everyone
Businesses are beginning to understand that preventing domestic and sexual violence serves the bottom-line interests of businesses and workers alike. A 2002 Partnership for Prevention survey of health benefit managers showed they believe that employers who take steps to prevent domestic violence will see improvements in performance, productivity, health, worksite safety, job retention, and other outcomes.
Business and labor leaders—as well as men who are managers or coworkers of victims of domestic violence—can be important partners in any coordinated violence prevention campaign. These alliances can open up myriad resources and opportunities for encouraging men to help end gender-based violence.
Find out how you can begin to partner with businesses and unions to prevent gender-based violence:
- How to Partner with Businesses
- What Unions Can Do by The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- Workplace Policies and Programs website of the Family Violence Prevention Fund
See our list of articles and resources about forming workplace alliances for working with men and boys.
Read the case study about how The New York Labor Coalition against Domestic Violence engages union men in domestic violence prevention.
See what others are saying about initiating and fostering partnerships in the workplace.
Last modified 2004-09-07 01:45 PM