“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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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:)
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!