Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating. It can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in person or online. The recent case of allegations of sexual harassment that some of India’s sportswomen (wrestling) are said to have faced have shocked the India.
What are the reasons behind sexual harassment of women at workplace?
- Sexual harassment at the workplace, is both direct and structural. The enabling environment for reporting direct violence has shown a gradual improvement.
- More men at the workplace feel entitled to take undue advantage of the historical fact that the society is
still patriarchal and women occupy a few of the higher positions.
- The number of women in leadership positions is not enough to generate confidence in the female
subordinates. Women in lower positions feel reluctant to air their grievances.
- The Periodic Labour Force Survey for 2020-21 shows that the participation of women in the total labour
force was 25.1% in 2020-21. It is still much less when compared to men.
- There is absence of an enabling and safe working environment. Most women do not complain of sexual
harassment. The current redress mechanism is either non-existent or ineffective.
- Women are more vulnerable to exploitation by their employer due to the fear of job insecurity. Which
makes them vulnerable to sexual favour by employers.
- Whenever allegations of sexual harassment are levelled against superior authorities, the enquiry is not done
properly. Instead, an accused either resorts to multiple litigation to stall the due process or attempts to
bring disrepute to the victim.
Suggestions for creating safe working place for women:
- In the long-run, it is essential to address the deep-rooted structural and cultural violence against women.
- There is a need to develop the mindset of treating men and women as equals at an early stage of character
formation during childhood. Parents should respect each other and treat their girl and boy child on a par in