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Marlene Molero Bets on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying in Latin America

She studied at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and specialized in gender issues and labor law in Sweden. In 2012, in the city of London, she became a master in gender, public policy, and inequality. With that training, she did not see herself holding public office or in non-governmental organizations. What did she do? "I designed my own space for professional practice."

The Woman Post | María Consuelo Caicedo

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The “Ni una menos” movement, a Peruvian protest group against femicides and violence against women in this Andean country, inspired Marlene Molero to start working on this topic, focusing her action on workplace harassment: “I felt that there was already When I finished my practice in the law firm of which I was a partner, I needed another professional incentive to get up every day and I bet on another path that had to do with the prevention of violence against women, sexual and workplace harassment. Today I use my knowledge in the application of technology to advance in the eradication of sexual harassment, and morality and make its prevention sustainable”.

Workplace bullying is of various colors

According to Molero, the world of work is not the same as it was a few decades ago. Today schedules are more demanding, in many areas there is aggressiveness and the images in which people have their laptops in bed to be able to work non-stop are applauded. How do women adapt to this world? They simply cannot because, in addition to exercising their roles as workers, they must be housewives, mothers, and wives. It is excessive!

The woman feels overwhelmed and in this demanding scenario, we can add “unpleasant comments, not being included in promotion lists, or delegating minor tasks. Workplace harassment is not only sexual, but it also extends to issues of gender violence associated with different roles”, explains Marlene Molero.

The salary gap between men and women who perform the same roles in a company and that has no justification, is also a form of violence that obeys an economic order that affects Latina women. Molero comments that this inequality “oscillates between 20% and 25% in the region. Today the big companies are reconsidering the issue, audits and analyzes are carried out to see how things are in gender matters, especially in the highest positions”.

Something had to be done

As CEO of GenderLab, Marlene Molero explains that ELSA (Workplaces without Harassment) is a platform that was created precisely so that organizations have tools to prevent problems of this nature within their walls.

Sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), ELSA operates in large and small public and private companies in countries such as Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Chile, Panama, and Colombia to develop workplace harassment prevention plans. Molero's professional management fully enters these scenarios: “We make a diagnosis of what happens within organizations through the anonymous participation of the people who provide their services. The results allow us to create specifically designed strategies for addressing and preventing bullying, that is, proposing measures that are in no way generic. With initial measurements of 34%, we have managed to lower the bullying rates to 12%”.

ELSA aims to multiply complaints of harassment, lose the fear of speaking out, and reduce tolerance based on episodes that make employees uncomfortable. Marlene Molero explains:

  • There are many companies in which it is thought that if there are no complaints of sexual harassment, for example, it is because there are no cases within their walls. What happens is that people keep quiet or comment on their situations only in the immediate environment. ELSA changes the attitude of passive organizations so that they become active in the detection of information.

The results obtained have made the leaders of the intervened organizations apply real measures, that is, “they take the ELSA route, strengthen the capacities of the employees and design new communication strategies. This is done through group training focused on the problems of each organization, communication campaigns, and creation of manuals to train everyone on issues of harassment”.

Not everything is work

It was not easy for THE WOMAN POST magazine to access this interview with Marlene Molero who seems to work 24 hours to prevent workplace harassment that affects women. To find out who she is outside of her professional space, we asked her:

- Are you oriented towards feminism or gender equality?

- I am a feminist, a word that for many can be problematic. Diversity is an axis that runs through women and different layers affect the issue.

-What do you do in your free time?

- I have two dogs that I love. I get up before 5 in the morning, I meditate, I don't check social networks until 8 in the morning, I like silence, I live near the sea and I connect with it by watching it from my window. On weekends I try to keep them to myself.

In addition, Marlene Molero exercises eat healthy food and try to sleep the hours she needs to continue her fight for the well-being of women at work in her region, Latin America: “When women come together with the same purpose, we achieve great things. I believe in a sorority”.

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