Sexual rights as declared in the Universal Declaration of Sexual Rights (1999) are inherent human rights that cannot be relinquished; the right to sexual freedom, the right to sexually associate freely and right to sexual equity are just but a few of the rights provided for under the declaration.
What happens when a woman decides to exercise these rights freely with a senior manager in the workplace? Most organisations have code of conducts that spell out issues around sexual exploitation in the work place, often times coming from the background that women are vulnerable to coercion into sexual relationships. Other organisations have policies on dating, marriage or personal relations amongst staff anticipating that couples would declare their status thus enabling management know how to handle them professionally and appropriately without discrimination.
Similarly there is another category of relationships usually between a senior and junior staff where those involved have not officially declared themselves as a couple and neither is it an exploitative relationship on the side of the woman. Given office politics, this is usually an open secret. Endless talk about a specific sexual relationship in the office, questioning the sexual character of the lady
involved and labelling her as loose is an eventuality.
Immediately there would be a concern on how to treat such as case or the lady involved from different quotas, particularly women; for the human resource manager or the protection focal points in the organisation, concern would be whether to treat the issue as harassment hence handle them appropriately? As a senior female manager in the organisation, would you do the rightful thing, be
a sisters’ keeper and approach the one involved to provide whatever support? As a moralist, would it be right to reprimand the lady involved for successfully tarnishing women’s reputation in general?
Bottom line is that women have the right to chose, but whatever choices we must and should live with the consequences.
By Hellen Mala Owiti