A Perspective on Forms of Sexual Harassment

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I was invited as a speaker at a Conference organised by Employers' Federation of India on Prevention of Sexual Harassment.

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A Perspective on Forms of Sexual Harassment

  1. 1. A perspective on various forms of sexual harassment. 7th March 2014 Sukanya Patwardhan Practice Head – Diversity, Ethics, Sustainability and Coaching 1
  2. 2. Education Masters in Inorganic Chemistry Research in Materials Science ( University of Pune) Masters in Human Resources ( Tata Institute of Social Sciences) Worked at  University of Pune  National Defense Academy (NDA)  SKF Bearings & Cummins India Ltd  IBM India Ltd ( Country Leader and a Global Role 10 years)  Currently with Tata Group Work Areas  Human Resources  Learning and Development  Career Paths and Professional Development , Talent Management  Technical Vitality, Employee Value Proposition, Large Scale Initiatives  Leadership development, Diversity Contributions and Awards Interest Areas Gen Y, Virtual Learning, Coaching, People Innovations, Productivity at collaborative workplaces, Service Science, Business Value through People, Conceptualization to Delivery of People Initiatives, Ethics Hobbies Spreading Positivity, Life Coaching, Reading and Writing Married with college going Kids National and International Awards and Fellowships IBM Academy of Technology affiliate– Elected Member IBM Stock options as an award Art and Music, Human Mind, Outdoor activities, Health and Fitness 2
  3. 3. On International Women’s Day- My Salute to Jotiba Phule Raja Rammohan Roy Swami Vivekananda Maharshi Karve Gandhiji 3
  4. 4. • Heartiest CONGRATULATIONS ! • You are BOLD to take a constructive step to understand about POSH in the context of increasing sexual assaults in India. • (POSH - Prevention of Sexual Harassment) 4
  5. 5. Scope of Discussion Today • The Context of Modern Corporate World • A brief outlook on what constitutes sexual Harassment • What can really happen at Workplaces • What can we do to nurture respectful work places? 5
  6. 6. This session is….. About  Understanding the importance and legal ways of POSH at workplace  Understanding the ways to create safe environment for business results.  Shared responsibility of all in creating and sustaining a healthy and productive workplace DIGNITY Not About  Pointing at men – as sexual harassment is irrespective of gender  Asking for unreasonable and exceptional privileges from the management  Productive and healthy workplace is just one way responsibility of management PUNISHMENT Disclaimer: Sukanya is NOT an Activist or Feminist. 6
  7. 7. Our people become our brand For one thing, people – rather than products – become your brand. Just as our products have had to be consistent with the IBM brand promise, now more than ever, so do our people. Sam Palmisano, HBR Interview Past Future People Processes Technology 7
  8. 8. Enterprises are awakening to the understanding.. • People are not inventory • People are not the product • People are processors, co-producing/creating business value with the client • People are intelligent agents who seek to maximize value 8
  9. 9. We are moving into the world of Group HR • Excitement • New Opportunities • Novelty • Challenges • Expression to our potential • Affordability for better material possessions Therefore we are encountering situations we never experienced before….. And The traditional solutions do NOT work!
  10. 10. Our Joint Focus… Right to life is “Life of Dignity” • It takes Men and Women to create and sustain a healthy and productive workplace. • This Session is about enhancing, empowering and inspiring the dignity of people at work. Who else can do it better than people like you? 10
  11. 11. HARASS  To Exhaust , Fatigue  To annoy (persistently)  To create an unpleasant or hostile situation for, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct WEBSTER’S II DICTIONARY 11
  12. 12. SEXUAL HARASSMENT “SEXUAL HARASSMENT is not complicated to define. To HARASS someone is to BOTHER HIM OR HER. SEXUAL HARASSMENT Is bothering someone in a sexual way.” Sexual Harassment is never just about sex. It is about Power Ellen Bravo The 9 to 5 Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment 12
  13. 13. SEXUAL Harassment: BROAD Definition Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination that involves UNWELCOME sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature WHEN: 13
  14. 14. • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s job, pay, or career. • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is made as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person. • Such conduct interferes with an individual’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. 14
  15. 15. We owe our appreciation to • The behavior of the other has a negative effect on your ability to do a job, it’s harassment! Vishakha Vs State of Rajasthan Standing Orders 15
  16. 16. Vishakha Vs State of Rajasthan
  17. 17. Some Statistics Type of Harassment Experienced Witnessed Verbal Harassment 56.9% 65.3% Sexual harassment that includes physical contact Physical harassment 33.0% 39.4% 8.5% 14.3% Emotional Harassment 55.8% 58.8% 92%- Women 5% - Men 3% - Same Sex Remember Victims are REAL people and not faceless statistics Source: Nan DeMars – You want me to do what? 17
  18. 18. Source : AWARE report - Singapore’s leading advocacy group dedicated to promoting gender equality. 18
  19. 19. Categories of Sexual Harassment Being a Victim Quid Pro Quo Hostile Environment 19
  20. 20. Being a Victim An Accounts Officer Satish was around 56 years old officer in accounts department. He rarely talked to anyone and kept to himself. A new management trainee Yasmin joined in the accounts department and was given a table next to him. Whenever he found time he would go near her table to wish her and say hello. He changed his bus route and started to sit behind her seat in the bus. All that he did was to stare at her. She told her friends that she is very uncomfortable with this officer, as she feels that he almost sees through her clothes whenever he looks at her. Her friends told her – don’t worry, “Uski to ye aadat hi hai, Jahan ladki dekhi eisehi dekhega, lekin karega kuch nahi” 20
  21. 21. Being a Victim At Midnight It was 2 am at night. Many employees were working in the night shifts. The security and administrative staff was also deployed in three shifts. Usually the top floor work desks were empty and the Gents’ toilet was near the terrace. Ravi , a young 10th standard pass out,19 years old, had just joined as a sweeper cum office assistant with the third party administrative - security services. He had lost his father recently and his mother was bed ridden. He considered himself lucky that he got a job in a good company. He was okay with night shift as he used his spare time at work to prepare for his further studies. That fretful night, Ravi was cleaning the Gents’ toilet when suddenly an unknown male employee caught him from behind and started fondling Ravi and made advances. Ravi was threatened to be murdered if he made any noise or voiced this anywhere else. Ravi almost fainted. Next day Ravi in a state of shock, told this to his supervisor and you over hear this in the corridor. 21
  22. 22. Quid Pro Quo • Latin term meaning “this for that” • Conditions placed upon a person’s career or terms of employment in return for sexual favors • Promises of career advancement, promotions, and other benefits should the victim give in to the sexual advances, and Vice – a - Versa ! 22
  23. 23. Quid Pro Quo The Promotion Depends on .. Madhav, the branch manager, invites Rosy, a recently hired teller-trainee, out to dinner and during the meal suggests that they go to a hotel to “know each other” better. After refusing at first, Rosy subsequently agrees as Madhav indicates to her that her refusal may cost her this job. Over the next several years Madhav and Rosy engage in sexual relationship outside the office. During this period, Rosy is promoted to teller, head teller, and assistant branch manager. Their sexual relationship ceases when Rosy starts going with a steady boyfriend and gets formally engaged. Rosy says that she eventually agreed to have sex with Madhav because she was afraid to lose her job. Madhav makes repeated demands for sexual favors, usually at the branch, both during and after business hours. He touches her in front of her colleagues in the office and at office parties i.e. puts his arm around her, pats her head, holds her hand etc. He has never done this before. She is scared and confused. What do you think Rosy should do? 23
  24. 24. Hostile Environment • Unwelcome behavior that is severe or pervasive and unreasonably interferes with a person’s working conditions • Offensive • Unsolicited comments and/or behaviors of a sexual nature Sheela ki Jawani Dialler Tune 24
  25. 25. Hostile Environment (con’t) Not blatant acts, but “gray area” behaviors also include: •Sexually oriented cartoons/pictures/emails •Sexually explicit jokes/attitudes/opinions •Derogatory “feminine” terms for unsatisfactory “male” performance What are you doing here? Girls here are Hot and Sexy!! Using terms of endearment 25
  26. 26. Hostile Environment A team of 8 went for a short coffee break, 5 boys and 3 girls. One of the girls – Neeta, was wearing black salwar khameez. Almost all complimented her – she liked it and thanked them. Generally the discussion was about if dark colors make one look slimmer etc. One of the male members told an incidence narrated by his uncle: he was at the airport and noticed a beautiful woman so he was watching her – he noticed that she had not worn any undergarments underneath her black gown (burkha) she was wearing. To him she looked like a model. It seems his time at the airport was worth it and since that day and whenever he sees a woman wearing black he can’t help remembering that scene. All girls and boys had a hearty laugh and passed some casual comments but Neeta, the one wearing black dress was very uncomfortable. She could no longer sit near this person’s desk as he was her neighbour and could not concentrate. She could not speak about her discomfort as rest did not seem to mind his comment. Her friends told her to relax and not take it personally. Afterall she was not wearing a Burkha.. isn’t it? And the person who told this funny thing did not intend it at her; isn’t it? 26
  27. 27. Being a Victim – Quid Pro Quo – Hostile Environment In the Guest House … • Suresh an admin manager was responsible for the company Guest house maintenance. This guest house was exclusively used for the foreigners from the company hence was not occupied most of the times. • There were rumours that Suresh used to ask the women servants to “Serve” him. Nobody knew the truth as none would complain. These women would come to the guest house just for two hours a day and there was no muster etc. kept for their attendance. • These women would be changed frequently depending on the load of the work. Finally Radhabai’s husband called the HR head if he would like to go to jail. 27
  28. 28. Behaviors of Sexual Harassment • Behaviors may be both verbal and/or nonverbal • The key is that the behavior is unwelcome and of a sexual nature 28
  29. 29. IS there a Difference? For the Person Involved and People Around What is Sexual Harassment What is NOT Sexual Harassment • feels bad • feels good • one-sided • reciprocal • feels unattractive • feels attractive • is degrading • is a compliment • feels powerless • in control • power-based • equality • negative touching • positive touching • unwanted • wanted • illegal • legal • invading • open • demeaning • Feels flattering • sad/angry • Happy outcome Source : Feminist Majority http://www.feminist.org/911/harasswhatdo.html 29
  30. 30. Related Elements of Sexual Harassment • Impact vs. Intent • Reasonable Person Standard 30
  31. 31. Related Elements of Sexual Harassment • Impact vs. Intent Assessing whether the behavior is appropriate or offensive must be done from the perspective of the recipient, not the alleged harasser. What is the BIG deal ? 31
  32. 32. Related Elements of Sexual Harassment • Reasonable Person Standard How would a reasonable man / woman under similar circumstances react or be affected by such behavior? Used to predict the expected reaction to or impact of perceived offensive behaviors on the recipient. 32
  33. 33. Sexual Harassment Checklist Is the behavior inappropriate for the workplace? Is the behavior sexual in nature or connotation? Is the conduct unwanted, unwelcome, or unsolicited? Do the elements of power, control, or influence exist? Does the situation indicate a quid pro quo relationship? • Have sexual favors been demanded, requested, or suggested? • Does the behavior create a hostile or offensive environment? • How would a “reasonable person” be affected? • • • • 33
  34. 34. Strategies for Combating Sexual Harassment • • • • • • Be Pro-Active Conduct sexual harassment training Outline procedures and policies Use communication effectively Be familiar with regulations/policies Encourage people to speak up and complain Protect Whistle Blowers 34
  35. 35. Don’t Forget … This law recognizes the basic truth that a supervisor has tremendous power over a subordinate both economically and personally 35
  36. 36. Gender Perspective : sexual relationship • Female : Any sexual, physical or emotional activity with a person with whom you have a connection. (It could be platonic as well) • Male : Any physical and actual sexual activity Therefore the perceptions of Men and Women about sexual harassment and prevention of sexual harassment are different : There is nothing wrong or right about perception :it is just different !
  37. 37. Please remember that nothing ever gets deleted on the net /even from your cell phone/ or any digital device 37
  38. 38. SEXUAL HARRASMENT is….. • Inappropriate • Disrespectful • Ilegal Damini Disclosure North Country The Accused Philadelphia 38
  39. 39. Equal Opportunity Employment Inclusivity Discrimination Workplace Harassment Sexual Harassment 39
  40. 40. People love work atmospheres which are • • • • • • Collaborative and Interdependent High Positive Energy and Be Yourself Caring and respectful Relationships based on mutual trust Full of opportunities to bring out the best Performance driven Workplace DIGNITY is the key to successful organizations. 40
  41. 41. Way Forward .. • Modern organizations are comprised of people with different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, age, experience, skills and sexual orientation . • To strive for a more productive work atmosphere, get to know the people you work with and respect their individuality as they should yours. Diversity and Inclusion is NOT about attempting to treat everyone the same. It is about respecting and giving space to each one’s uniqueness 41
  42. 42. A BIG Thank You Blog: Synchronise Success with Sukanya spatwardhan@tata.com / sukanya.Patwardhan@gmail.com 98500-37928 42

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