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‘Sexual harassment at work place high’

REPOST ARTICLE SOURCE:

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sexual-harassment-at-work-place-high/article4144874.ece

SexualHarassmentSeventeen per cent of working women in India claim that they have experienced sexual harassment at workplace. This high incidence of sexual harassment, both in the organised and the unorganised sectors, was revealed in an opinion poll titled ‘Sexual Harassment at Workplaces in India 2011-2012” released by Oxfam India.

The survey for which women were interviewed in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Lucknow and Durgapur was jointly conducted by Oxfam India and Social and Rural Research Institute.

Most women claimed to have faced incidents that were non-physical, according to the survey. “Sixty-six of the 400 respondents reported to have faced a cumulative of 121 incidents of sexual harassment, 102 of 121 incidents reported to be non-physical, whereas the remaining 19 incidents were physical in nature,’’ indicated the survey.

The report also noted that while 87 per cent of the general population and 93 per cent of working women respondents reported awareness of sexual harassment of women at work place, majority of the victims did not resort to any formal action against the perpetrator. The top three categories that have emerged unsafe for women are labourers (29 per cent), domestic help (23 per cent) and small scale manufacturing (16 per cent).

Oxfam India CEO, Nisha Agrawal, said: “Violence against women is a human rights violation, whether it is domestic violence within homes or sexual harassment at the workplace. If the domestic sphere is not safe, the workplace is not safe, public spaces are not safe, then, where should women go? It is shocking that 17 per cent of working women face sexual harassment in workplaces as per our study. We believe in the right of every woman to a violence-free workplace. Each one of us has to take a stand and say ‘No to Violence against Women’’’.

Majority of respondents (both general population and working women) perceived women working in the unorganised sector to be more susceptible to sexual harassment due to lack of awareness of legislation. “Interestingly, 26 per cent reported to be the sole earning member of their families, indicating that economic vulnerability further makes women more vulnerable to harassment at the workplace,’’ added Ms. Agrawal.

The study said that the reasons stated for not taking any action by the women despite the harassment were fear of losing the job, absence of any complaints mechanism at the workplace, fear of getting stigmatized and not aware of redress mechanism.

Further the survey pointed out that the Supreme Court Guidelines on Sexual Harassment were known to as many as 17 per cent of the respondents among the general population. It was found that awareness of the Guidelines was higher in metro cities — 24 per cent as compared to other areas. Also overall more than 80 per cent of the respondents reported the need for a separate law for dealing with sexual harassment at work place.

 

The survey for which women were interviewed in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Lucknow and Durgapur was jointly conducted by Oxfam India and Social and Rural Research Institute.

Most women claimed to have faced incidents that were non-physical, according to the survey. “Sixty-six of the 400 respondents reported to have faced a cumulative of 121 incidents of sexual harassment, 102 of 121 incidents reported to be non-physical, whereas the remaining 19 incidents were physical in nature,’’ indicated the survey.

The report also noted that while 87 per cent of the general population and 93 per cent of working women respondents reported awareness of sexual harassment of women at work place, majority of the victims did not resort to any formal action against the perpetrator. The top three categories that have emerged unsafe for women are labourers (29 per cent), domestic help (23 per cent) and small scale manufacturing (16 per cent).

Oxfam India CEO, Nisha Agrawal, said: “Violence against women is a human rights violation, whether it is domestic violence within homes or sexual harassment at the workplace. If the domestic sphere is not safe, the workplace is not safe, public spaces are not safe, then, where should women go? It is shocking that 17 per cent of working women face sexual harassment in workplaces as per our study. We believe in the right of every woman to a violence-free workplace. Each one of us has to take a stand and say ‘No to Violence against Women’’’.

Majority of respondents (both general population and working women) perceived women working in the unorganised sector to be more susceptible to sexual harassment due to lack of awareness of legislation. “Interestingly, 26 per cent reported to be the sole earning member of their families, indicating that economic vulnerability further makes women more vulnerable to harassment at the workplace,’’ added Ms. Agrawal.

The study said that the reasons stated for not taking any action by the women despite the harassment were fear of losing the job, absence of any complaints mechanism at the workplace, fear of getting stigmatized and not aware of redress mechanism.

Further the survey pointed out that the Supreme Court Guidelines on Sexual Harassment were known to as many as 17 per cent of the respondents among the general population. It was found that awareness of the Guidelines was higher in metro cities — 24 per cent as compared to other areas. Also overall more than 80 per cent of the respondents reported the need for a separate law for dealing with sexual harassment at work place.

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