Instruct Companies to Display Anti-Sexual Harassment ICC Members' Information on Websites
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After Raya Sarkar's List of Sexual Harassers in Academia created waves last year, it is time for other Indian workplaces to experience its #MeToo moment. Since actress Tanushree Dutta called out co-actor Nana Patekar, more and more women have found the courage to speak out.
Those being named are journalists, authors, stand-up comedians, directors, actors who made these women feel uncomfortable and unsafe. The list seems endless.
What’s more disturbing than the revelations themselves is the deafening silence and lack of support for those individuals who have spoken out.
I for one am glad to see that the world’s biggest democracy is finally confronting one of the most important issues of our time thanks to the #MeToo movement. And that is sexual harassment. This was long overdue!
One thing stood out in all the stories: the fact that all these women did not find support in their organisations, or a space to make a complaint. And many were forced to continue working alongside their tormentors.
I can’t imagine the level of mental trauma these women went through.
It is obvious that most companies have not abided by the government’s instruction to set up committees to hear complaints as is mandated under the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act, 2013. In those companies that do, in fact, have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) as per the law, the information of the committee’s members isn’t always easily available. So how does a survivor know who to complain to?
The law clearly says that a company must set up an Internal Complaints Committee of at least three people, a majority of which must be women in senior positions within the organization, and a third-party member, attached to an NGO. Companies must also conduct regular workshops to sensitise employees.
In the media world, for instance, a recent report by the Huffington Post India revealed that only 7 out of 17 major production houses in Mumbai confirmed that they have sexual harassment committees in place.
The general opinion of working women is that the gender-sensitive committees and policies are only on paper. One woman working in a production house said, "There have been no workshops or programs to make female members aware of such a thing. Everything happens informally and depends on how important you are to the film. If you are influential enough, action is taken. Else, you just live with it."
No one should have to just live with it!
Sign my petition asking the government to instruct all companies to display the information of the members constituting the Internal Complaints Committee on their company websites. This will not only make it easier for women to register complaints, but it will also make it evident whether a company even has an ICC or not.
In a country where women reportedly make up 28% of the workforce, it is high time the government steps in and holds every company accountable in order to make every individual feel safer.
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