Hagåtña, Guam – The Guam Bureau of Women’s Affairs (BWA) has been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Fostering Access Rights and Equity (FARE) grant in the amount of $254,348 to focus on workplace harassment. The FARE grant program helps underserved and marginalized low-income women workers to learn about and access their employment rights and benefits. Guam’s grant proposal includes a media information campaign about workplace harassment rights aimed at women workers and businesses that may not be aware of what constitutes harassment in the workplace.
“US DOL formulated the grant this year because the pandemic has underscored the extent to which many essential women workers do not have access to, or even know about their employment rights and benefits,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “According to data collected by the University of Guam, 63% of residents affected by the pandemic were women, with CHamoru women under 40 earning under $20,000 a year most affected.”
“These women may be afraid to speak up about unsafe working conditions because they need their jobs right now, or they just do not know what employment rights they have. They may be putting up with behavior that they don’t even know constitutes harassment,” added Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio.
“Our grant activities will include the development of an information campaign about workplace harassment for the many underserved women in our local workforce. We will conduct train-the-trainer sessions for our multilingual partner organizations such as the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence, Mañe’lu, our own Guam Department of Labor, Guma’ Mami, and iCan Resources, who will then disseminate this knowledge to targeted women workers both at their workplaces and in meetings around the island,” said BWA Director Jayne Flores. “Seventy-eight percent of workplace establishments on Guam employ under 20 people, and may not have the capacity to address workplace complaints.”
“It is our goal that empowering these women about their rights with regard to workplace harassment will also carry over into the realm of sexual harassment and domestic violence, of which we have very high rates on Guam. Any form of knowledge and empowerment for our women is a positive step,” added Governor Leon Guerrero.
Guam is the only U.S. territory and one of only six state and territory agencies awarded the competitive grants, which totaled just over $2 million in 2021. The FARE grant period runs from September 30, 2021 to March 31, 2023. The Guam State Clearinghouse will assist BWA with the financial management of the grant.
For more information on the FARE grant, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/grants/fare