Women as a Part of the “Productive” Economy Liberty March: En Course to Emancipation
“I NEVER ASK FOR IT!” What IS sexual harassment? - Sexual Harassment is a violation of a woman’s freedom, of her person, her dignity, bodily integrity and sexual anatomy. - In the present day and age, a woman can be harassed virtually anywhere: marketplace, hospitals, schools, public transport, why even in their homes and workplaces! - A Sexual Harassment is said to have occurred when the act is impugned or unsolicited.
“The courts assume that the workplace is asexual. People don't talk about, look at or think about sex when they come to work. This may not be an accurate assumption, but it underlies this requirement. Since the workplace is not supposed to be sexual, all sexual behavior is presumed unwelcomed.” -- Rita Risser, Managing Within The Law
Sexual Harassment In the Workplace? Most likely in a male-dominated workplace or a female-dominated workplace wherein workers earn low wages with the management personnel being predominantly male. It is not just quid pro quo sexual harassment, but also boils down to a hostile working environment.
Sexual Harassment In the Workplace Violates… Gender Equality and Women’s Identity as mentioned in the Preamble to the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Gender Specific Constitutional Clauses like the Right to Gender Equality and Right against Discrimination on grounds of Sex. General Constitutional provisions such as the Right to Practice any Profession or to carry out any occupation, trade, or business. The Basic Right to Life And Liberty.
Sexual Harassment In India: How it all began. The Vishaka versus State of Rajasthan Case, 1997. The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment At Workplace Bill, 2010 was passed by the Cabinet and was tabled by the LokSabha on the 7th of December, 2010. About 4000 applications were received by standing committee in the Parliament in protest. This included those from “men’s rights” organisations. The General Parliamentarian View on the bill is that it is pro-women.
As a result of the Bill… Setting up of an Internal Complaints Committee in every org. In case of less than 10 employees, responsibility lies with the government to institute a woman-headed local complaints committee. 50% of committee must be women. Guarantees anonymity to the complainant. Statements, evidence presented to this internal committee is outside purview of RTI Act. Also aims to protect women who enter workplace as a client, customer, apprentice, wage worker or in ad-hoc capacity. Covers students and research scholars as well. Major Deterrant: Inclusion of Clause 14 which punishes false or malicious complaint and false evidence. Major Loophole: Inadequate Punishment if defendant found guilty. Only suggests removal and dismissal from office.
Related Developments The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment At Workplace Bill, 2010 overlooks the case of domestic workers around the country who are estimated to be a staggering 90 million personnel strong and account for as much as 70% of all women in the country! The Government plans to bring in a legislation on the national sports policy that, among other things, would help prevent sexual harassment of sportswomen and make sports bodies and administration transparent in the country.