Working with Sharks: A Pakistani Woman’s Story of Countering Sexual Harassment in the United Nations - From Personal Grievance to Public Law

Working with Sharks: A Pakistani Woman’s Story of Countering Sexual Harassment in the United Nations - From Personal Grievance to Public Law

5.0 2
by Fouzia Saeed
     
 

“Little did I know that my intimidation by senior officers in the UNDP had only just begun.”

Fouzia Saeed dreamed of bringing social change to the women of Pakistan and was thrilled to land her dream job at the world’s ethical compass and institutional tour de force: The United Nations.

As expected, the UN was a gathering place…  See more details below

Overview

“Little did I know that my intimidation by senior officers in the UNDP had only just begun.”

Fouzia Saeed dreamed of bringing social change to the women of Pakistan and was thrilled to land her dream job at the world’s ethical compass and institutional tour de force: The United Nations.

As expected, the UN was a gathering place for passionate minds devoted to human rights and justice for all. Shockingly, at the UN mission in Pakistan it was also a breeding ground for powerful men who viewed women as sexual objects rather than professional equals.

Refusing her boss’s advances didn’t stop the harassment. Reporting him to superiors didn’t either. In her years-long struggle with torment and humiliation at the UN, Fouzia held strong, knowing her fight for women’s rights was the only thing that could keep her going. But how do you fight for others’ rights when you cannot even take hold of your own? Can you ever change a culture that views sexual harassment by a man as a woman’s crime?

Fouzia and a group of female colleagues, who similarly suffered in the workplace, gained the courage to risk their reputations. They filed a joint compliant and promptly found themselves under attack by their managers who aligned with the perpetrator in an effort to crush their case.

Working with Sharks follows eleven indestructible women and the case that sparked a national movement and culminated in the passage of legislation that made sexual harassment a crime in Pakistan in 2010. Inspirational and poignant, Working with Sharks encourages women in any part of the world to find their voice and stand up to sexual harassment.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post - Pamela Constable
“More subtle than a tale of feudal gang rape or honor killing, this victim’s account of sly sexual harassment in the Pakistani office of a U.N. agency makes your blood boil all the same. Told in unflinching detail, it exposes the casual impunity of abusive men... where even professional women can be treated as sexual prey, silenced by shame and thwarted by bureaucratic indifference. Brava to Fouzia Saeed for breaking the silence.”
Embassy of Pakistan to the United States in Washington, D.C. - Ambassador Sherry Rehman
"As the former Minister for Women's Development and a consistent advocate for women’s rights in Pakistan, I consider this book to be a compelling personal narrative. Fouzia’s life story, the challenges she encountered, and the tremendous achievements she helped to secure on behalf of women in Pakistan should serve as an inspiration to sustain our shared push for progress - not just to Pakistanis but to women around the world.”
President of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, D.C. - Carl Gershman
In Working with Sharks, Fouzia Saeed tells a riveting story of her fight against sexual harassment..It is a lesson in how to effectively resist injustice and also an inspiring example of how an individual, using her political imagination and organizational talent, can turn a personal humiliation into a national movement for fundamental social change. Dr. Saeed's story will resonate with Americans who remember Rosa Parks and understand how a single woman, standing her ground, can change history.
Professor of Sociology, University of Tokyo, Japan - Chizuko Ueno
"The author of Taboo on sex workers now challenges the taboo at her own work at the UN. Wherever there is male dominance, sexual harassment is likely to take place, and the UN is no exception. Only through such individual and collective struggles, gender equality can be achieved"
Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C. - William Milam
"A riveting account of [Fouzia's] courageous battle, along with several other women employees, against the United Nations system where the social and cultural morés are powerfully lined up against women who fight back. Her ambition to succeed in protecting human and women’s rights is demonstrated in her perseverance in pursuing a 10-year fight for national legislation against sexual harassment in Pakistan."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940016319100
Publisher:
Advances Press
Publication date:
02/26/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
440
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Fouzia Saeed is a prominent Pakistani social activist and community leader with over thirty years of professional experience in the field of gender, human rights and democracy. Her work on sexual harassment and subsequent passage of legislation declaring this menace a crime in Pakistan won her national recognition. She has been the Chairperson of Mehergarh, a Pakistan-based human rights and democracy center that works on women’s rights and youth empowerment. She currently lives in Washington, D.C. as a Visiting Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy. Her earlier books, Taboo: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area, published by Oxford University Press, and Forgotten Faces, published by the National Heritage of Pakistan, became popular among young Asian women. Taboo has been translated into Urdu, Hindi, Marathi and Japanese. Dr. Saeed did her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota, USA.

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Working with Sharks: A Pakistani Woman’s Story of Countering Sexual Harassment in the United Nations - From Personal Grievance to Public Law 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
dot-dot More than 1 year ago
I simply dont have good enough words to describe what an awe inspiring experience it was to read this book. Having grown up in the same society as DR Saeed's and gone through the same kind of harassment, sometimes subtle and more often not so subtle, I have so much to relate to in this book. However, I believe that even Americans, both men & women should find it really interesting to read since approximately every fourth working American woman is sexually harassed(ABC/Wash. Post Survey). Everyone, in particular those working in an office environment, must read this account to understand, if they dont yet, what qualifies as sexual harassment and how it can effect the working environment for very talented workers. However, the book is not just an account of sexual harassment and an effort of cover up by some big "sharks" in the senior management of a prestigious Int'l organization as UN but also a very inspiring story of very brave women who stood up against it. What they were able to achieve as a result of their very grueling struggle is also amazing. I will strongly recommend this book based on my own experience of reading it. Once I started reading it I could not put it down before finishing it and I am a very slow reader:)
MichaelS75 More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of reading Fouzia's book "Working with Sharks" back in 2011. Fouzia's account was capturing from page one! I enjoyed her personal story of the tremendous work she has done in Pakistan, empowering women and promoting gender equality, as well as her personal struggle with sexual harassment of women in the UN system in Pakistan. In addition, Fouzia eloquently includes her own experiences of being exposed to western cultures and how this influences her own personal life, including her "decision to marry a westerner". I truly enjoyed reading Fouzia's life story, the challenges she managed to overcome and the changes she has achieved for women in Pakistan. I warmly recommend reading the book!