Search your Topic HERE....

September 26, 2017

Essays for IBPS PO VII : Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Leave a Comment

sponsored links

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Main Points to Highlight : Sexual harassment is the expression of male power over women and is closely connected to male attitudes about the ',Proper" role of a MAN in the society. The perception of men about masculinity is being a good provider of his family which is strong. Therefore, the feminist drive for economic equality is seen as a threat to their traditional role and thus takes the form of sexual harassment, may be a tool of self-protection. Lewd remarks, touching, wolf-whistles, looks are now part of any woman's life, so much so that it is dismissed as normal. Tolerance at first instance may be taken as acceptance and that may lead to further harassment. Women have accepted themselves as universal victim of such acts and are hesitant to take any action against it because of apprehension of being ridiculed. Thus, combating sexual harassment involves developing understanding of what is sexual harassment and change of attitudes in all, be it employees, colleagues, friends, administrators, employers or the law makers. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redresses)Act, 2013 has widened the definition of sexual harassment and its victims. Moreover, the Act of 2013 is more centered on complaint redresses mechanism rather than prevention of such act whereas the major hurdle in combating with this evil is that majority of incidents are not reported. It is very clear that just black and white letters are not enough to provide a safer environment for women at workplace

In India the concern of sexual harassment of women at work place is increasing. Every other day instance of sexual harassment pops up. It is good from one point of view that now more and more instances are being reported so that the issue can be understood with depth. Such instances were taking place before but were not reported. In India the issue is not being treated with gender neutrality and according to the law only a woman can be subjected to sexual harassment. There is a growing consensus among the HR departments of leading firms world over, which deal with the issue more often that even males are being subjected to such harassment by other females or male colleagues. Hence the issue is not limited to the fairer sex. 

It is very important to understand what sexual harassment legally means in India. In the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 it is defined as "unwelcome sexual gesture or behaviour whether directly or indirectly, sexually coloured remarks, physical contact and advances, showing pornography, a demand or request for sexual favours, any other physical, verbal/nonverbal conduct being sexual in nature and passing offensive and unacceptable remarks." 

The issue of sexual harassment of women at workplace came into major limelight due to Bhavari Devi Case of 1992. The incident unfolded the traumatic condition through which one woman has to pass even after being subjected to a heinous crime of rape. The poor functioning and passive attitude of the state machineries in handling the issue was exposed. This resulted into issuance of Vishakha Guidelines in a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India in 1997 which has to be adhered to, until legislation is passed in the assembly regarding the issue. 

It was good on the part of the SC to issue guidelines because it took another 15 years for passing legislation on 23rd April 2013 and that too due to public outrage after Delhi Gang Rape of December 2012. 

The issue of sexual harassment is really complex due to role of various elements such as society, psychology, job security and career comes into play. Professionals handle work in teams which consists of both the sexes. They work together and travel together for the work. This creates intimacy but at times the limit is crossed. Tolerance at the first instance may be taken as acceptance which may lead to further harassment. 

Today women have reached the board rooms from kitchens. They are taking up leadership roles at all levels. At times this might be posing challenge to the role of males who traditionally haven't work under the females and hence are reluctant to accept their control and dominance. Politics at workplace in the form of bullying, job insecurity and frustration aids the issue. Personal problems can also be a factor, and sexual harassment can be a symptom of the effects of life traumas such as divorce, or death of a spouse or child. 

Another fear in the minds of women is that she wouldn't be heard on the issue or no concrete steps would be taken. Either she tries to get herself transferred or leaves the job instead of being vocal. The reason for this is even after Vishakha Guidelines and Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act the Government as well as private organizations hasn't been proactive to form Sexual Harassment committees as per the instructions. 

Department of Women and Child Welfare should look in this regard and assure that there is adequate women representation in the committee as per norms. In brief the employer should be made responsible for providing a safe working atmosphere for women by taking preventive measure. The preventive measures can be through (1) spreading awareness regarding the legal provisions and its penal consequence through training (2) display of such law through posters at the workplace (3) framing their own sexual abuse policy which will also show their commitment for the cause (4) impartial mechanism for the redressed of the issue. 

As mentioned earlier that there is a growing consensus about the male sexual harassment. Males are less vocal since their masculinity and gender orientation would be questioned in the society. Legislators and judiciary should be proactive in this regard also even though the problem is in the budding stage instead of taking curative measure after any incidence.  

Indian women are making their imprint as the most influential women in the Forbes list, but on the other hand some are facing harassment at their workplace. This paradox has come to limelight with such profile cases such as former Supreme Court Judge A. K. Ganugly and Tehelka Managing director Tarun Tejpal. 

Well the fundamental rights in our Constitution enshrined under articles 14 to 21 prohibit any sort of discrimination on account of sex, but the real picture is quite different. This is due to our patriarchal society that prefers men over women. 

Women should be given confidence of being heard if such incidents take place. The formation of an independent Women Forum in every organization may be helpful in handling such cases. Same way, the so called masked faces in the organizations should be cautioned of severe consequences if they resort to any unethical and immoral practices. An ethical code of conduct should be a part and parcel of every organization. The implementation of it should be done in letter and spirit. This should be on the lines of the legal rules framed for the security of women by the Government. 

The problem of sexual harassment in work place is increasingly coming out of the closet. The case of Tarun Tejpal, managing editor of the news magazine Tehalka is a case in point. This particular case has brought this issue on the center stage as more victims are gathering courage to complain such offences. After Tarun Tejpal's case a public debate is raging in the country how to control such incidents in future. This is because the sexual dimension of such cases having implications on personal, psychological, moral and marital status of an individual is a vital social issue. 

Sexual harassment occurs in the workplace due to unwelcome, unwanted, uninvited, action or behaviour of a person that causes discomfort, humiliation, offence or distress to the other. Majority of such cases are directed towards woman by men working at high position in an organization. 

Women are vulnerable to sexual harassment because they more often lack power and often work in insecure positions. Due to the fear factor women often resign to their fate rather than raise their voice against sexual harassment. Since they do not know where to go for complain and how their complaints would be treated, they often keep quit and suffer in ignominy.

Every organization should have an effective employment policy that should ensure well planned career paths based on merit to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and harassment by those who abuse their power and authority. There should be awareness among the staff members about sexual harassment and the consequences they may face if they indulge in such an act. They should know their social responsibilities to prevent such incident in their organization. The staff member subjected to sexual harassment must first complain to the committee members constituted for such purposes in the organization, before going to the police. 

Every time the government or the society cannot protect women, so they should be made independent to handle acts of sexual harassment. A safety kit for women should be made available which should include basic safety tools including pepper spray, knife, etc., so that they can take a swift action to protect themselves. Basic self-defense training should be provided to women for free. The laws should be made more rigid regarding sexual harassment crimes. Sexual harassment is a crime and a strong approach should be followed to make workplaces safe for women. Our founding father had only one dream to establish an egalitarian state where rule of law prevails and dignity of every citizen irrespective of sex, caste, race, religion and place of birth would be secured. 

The awareness about sexual harassment should be brought by teaching moral science and educating the students about respecting each other and not harassing the girls. As it is very easy to teach children about harassment and it will be beneficial for the society. The overall assessment is that sexual harassment in a work place is a social human crime. This is a gender neutral crime. This needs to be addressed because being sexually harassed, is an assault on the existence of a human being. Therefore everyone should fight and try to eradicate this malaise from its workplace and even outside it for the sake of developing a civilized society.
shared by Nisheeta Mirchandani
sponsored links

0 Responses:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...