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Sexual harassment in workplace causes and remedies.

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

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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.

Adding to it is the fact the cases of physical abuse against women has increased manifold even though many of them remain unreported. This is even after the legislation Prevention of Sexual Abuse against Women & their redressal & the Vishakha guidelines have been put in place for some time now.

What contributes to this shameful situation is the narrow mindedness of our male population, that outnumbers the females.

When UN is celebrating the day for ending the crime against women, it is shame to hear some of our politicians making irresponsible statements like, "Now men will be frightened to employ female personal secretaries" or "There is no man today who hasn't chased the woman in his life".

It seems their responsibility ends with the apology after making such sexist remarks and the rage over it also ends with the same. But does this apology actually change their mindset?

Second factor is the loose implementation of the laws, the making of which of course in our country is reactive, rather than proactive. The "Nirbhaya Fund", meant for the security of women, is still hanging in the The Finance Ministry & the Ministry for Women & Child Development.

Even today, many of the organizations do not have the Internal Complaints Committee, required as per the laws. Organizations do not think of the responsibility to drop their female employees after 8 PM. The reported cases of sexual abuse are managed in a haphazard manner, with little sympathy with the victim.

What is required is a proactive approach by the organizations to curb the cases of sexual abuse. Women should be given confidence of being heard if such incidents takes 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 & spirit. This should be on the lines of the legal rules framed for the security of women by the Government.

However, once again the question arises, does the written rules can make any impact on the devils, can it change their mindset ?

-Shilpi Agarwal