Thursday, October 17, 2013

Summary Report of the Activities related to the Project 

The report of various activities regarding the “Campaign against sexual harassment of women at workplace project” contains detailed account of the activities undertaken under the project such as; various external consultations for planning and implementation of the project, meetings of the complaint committee, training and orientation of the surveyors, an account of data entries, report writing, planning meetings, feedback meetings, strengths and short comings of the project as well as way forward.   

For full Report go through the following link: 

Presentations on the initial plannings and follow up and implementation of the sexual harassment project are provided through the links provided below: 

Report on the third consultation meeting

On 28th September, 2013 the third consultation meeting was held. The meeting was scheduled with the purpose of further planning the implementation and follow up activities in the project.
In the meeting the members of the sexual harassment complaint committee Ms. Neelu, Ms. Shaila Parween, Ms. Shivani were present. Moreover, Mr. Bhushan, senior staff (Accountant cum Admin Assistant) of Mahila Jagaran Kendra, Ms. Puja was present in the consultation.
A brief presentation of the targets achieved and planning of the implementation and follow-up of the project was made by Ms. Puja. The presentation of the project involved following major points:
Targets achieved:
  Conducting the Survey  - took one month
  Data Entry – took 10 days
  Report Writing – took roughly one month
  Consultation – held on 15th September, 2013
  Release of report (public domain and media coverage) - on 15th September, 2013
Implementation and follow-up of the project: Focus Areas
  Bonding with the respondents/ employers/institutions/organizations covered in the survey – Following tools shall be used to make the implementation of the sexual harassment law a ground reality:
§  Initial meetings on setting up the internal complaint committee and their proper functioning
§  Acquiring relevant info about the matter through RTI
§  Developing a training module
§  Training on the Sexual harassment laws, particularly the formation and functioning of complaint committee
  Making it a wide spread issue by linkage with media & networking –
  Linkage with the electronic/print media (Popular media) & social networking for spreading mass awareness on the issue of sexual harassment as well as sexual harassment laws. Moreover, making the government, employers and general mass sensitive through regular awareness programs on electronic media such as; launching women based programs on Doordarshan , AIR and other media channels as well as through popular media such as; Radio Mirchi, Blog activities and other social networking activities.
  Signature campaigns – for passing a state law, survey, study, strong implementation of the act. Making the general mass a part of the signature campaign in manual form or through internet.
  Advocacy with the government –
  Submission of our study report to the government
  RTI for obtaining information that:
  Whether the government has any data of such cases
  The level of implementation of the sexual harassment law passed in the year 2013
  Submitting a list of recommendations to the government bearing the signature of public at large
  Pressurizing the government for making & passing a state law on this matter.
  Follow-up for the implementation of the sexual harassment law by the government on the specified areas provided below:
  Survey and study in the matter
  Ensuring formation of the local complaint committee at the block and district level in each district
  Awareness drives by the government
  Legal trainings of the nodal officers, internal and local complaint committee,
  Constitution of a regulatory body to supervise complaint committees at workplace and review their work.
  Finding out the successful cases
  Finding out the victims of sexual harassment at workplace who have succeeded in their case.
  Compilation of the story
  Formation of book
  Press release of the book

Suggestion on the planning and implementation
  A monitoring shall be undertaken by the sexual harassment complaint committee of Mahila Jagaran Kendra in all the organizations surveyed on the matter of the formation of the sexual harassment complaint committee and its proper functioning.
  In the awareness programs with the electronic or the popular media the state shall not be targeted as we have to make a balanced relationship with the state for achieving our goal in advocacy with the state.
  An RTI shall be made by the organization in matters of:
  Knowledge about the state level sexual harassment complaint committee formed in Bihar.
  Its functioning and name and details of its members.  
  Whether the local level (in each block) sexual harassment complaint committee has been formed or not.
  An RTI shall also be made in the government departments about the facilities provided to the women as well as about the compliance of sexual harassment laws. 
  Submitting a recommendation with the report of our survey as well as the report based on the RTI papers to be filed in the government departments to the Minister and Chief Secretary of the Social Welfare Department of Bihar.

  Pressurizing the government for mass awareness through putting hoardings on public spaces, newspapers and electronic media about the sexual harassment laws. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Press Release of the release of Book

Press Release of the State level consultation

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summary of the Study Report

Introduction to the report 
A survey had been conducted by Mahila Jagaran Kendra in 50 institutions of Patna covering government, private, unorganized and development sectors. The head of the institution, male and female both were covered in the survey. In India, the Vishakha Guidelines, Justice Verma Committee Report and the sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013 are some of the legislations to prevent and address the issues of sexual harassment.    
Since the economic liberalization in 1990s, more and more women have joined the workforce.  They have been working in the agriculture, factories, construction work and various government sectors & private sectors and thereby contributing to the economic growth and development.  Nonetheless, it is clear from various national and international reports that women are suffering from sexual harassment at the workplace.
Executive Summary
The women are victim of different kind of violence: abuses and harassment, beating, lewd remarks, stalking, staring, etc in the homes and outside. Despite their contribution to family development, child bearing, social development and overall economy, they are not recognized as equal partner of men and suffer at the hands of male counterparts at workplaces.
Every minute they bear objectionable remarks, unwanted physical touch during performing their duties, on way to home and office, market places etc. Sexual harassment badly affects them psychologically, physically, morally and stigmatizes them in the society. Family and society blame them for the wrong which they haven’t done. They are unable to perform their duties and responsibilities at the workplace. Thus, the family, other women working in the organization, the organizations itself and society become victim but they rather ignore it. If the cases of sexual harassment come to light the victim is either looked down upon by the society, employers and even family members and even tonted for provoking the harasser.
The study suggests that 60 % of the working women face sexual harassment in various forms. This percentage suggests that sexual harassment is very common in workplace. The laws for prevention of crime against women are not being implemented properly neither by the Bihar government nor by the Central government. Whatever, the steps have been taken by the Bihar government (by forming the state level sexual harassment complaint committee and district level local complaint committee) are insufficient to prevent sexual harassment.
Our survey report has ample evidence to prove that women are harassed in their respective workplaces in all sectors: private, government, development sector, school, colleges and unorganized sectors. Employers have not formed the sexual harassment complaint committee, haven’t taken any steps for awareness among employees about sexual harassment laws and ensuring redressal to the victims. The same position is of the government, it is too slow in publicizing the law, in effecting police reform and carrying out other important recommendations of the act.         
Key findings
·         Only 26 % women occupy the managerial position.
·         55 % women felt discomfort and fear while talking on the issue of their sexual harassment or colleagues.
·         60 % women are sexually harassed at the workplace. 35 % accepted they are harassed, while 25 % said their women colleagues were harassed.
·         Only 8 % victims filed complaint against sexual harassment in different forums such as; police stations, Mahila Thana, women helpline, complaint committee etc.
·         47 % sexual harassment cases occurred in unorganized sector, 28 % in private sector and 25 % in the government sector.
·         71 % of the harassed women were literate, while, 29 % were illiterate.
·         48 % women said that their employers take steps for their safety.
·         Only 25 % respondents said that the sexual harassment complaint committee has been formed in their organization/institution.
·         97 % respondents said that their office does not display any folder or poster on awareness about laws relating to sexual harassment.
·         17 % total respondents and 20 % women respondents hardly were aware of the Vishakha Guidelines.
·         78 % respondents felt that sexual harassment has increased in the recent years.
·         The Act does not specifically provide that in case where the sexual harassment complaint committee is not formed and the organization is having more than 10 staffs then whether it can be governed by the local complaint committee or not. The local complaint committee shall also take up those cases.
·         The definition of the sexual harassment in the Act is not exhaustive, thus, it gives a loophole to the perpetrators to escape from the charge of sexual harassment. The Act must cover words like stalking, staring to remove the vagueness of the definition.
·         Every institution’s complaint committee must submit a quarterly report and an annual report to the government and must be accessible to the public at large. 
·         A review or the social audit of the functioning of the local complaint committee and the internal complaint committee must also be conducted at a regular interval to act as a watchdog for the proper executions of their functions. 
·         The government shall propagate the provisions of the act to the general masses by regularly advertizing in the radio, television, posters, hoardings, wall writings and through nukaad natak.
·         An employee’s tribunal shall be formed at the block, district, state and national level to deal with such cases.
·         There should be a nodal officer at district level as per the provision of the act. Moreover, the nodal officer must be a woman and shall have the knowledge of law as well as should have the capacity to counsel the victim.
·         The nodal officer shall also be provided the training on the legal aspects as well.
·         The government should issue order and ensure that all the government departments as well as the private organizations/institution have a sexual harassment complaint committee at their workplace.
·         The government should constitute a regulatory body comprising bonafide citizens, including 50 % women, to supervise complaint committees at workplace. The regulatory body should review the implementation of sexual harassment act every annum.
·         The training of police officials, police personnel, magistrates to make them aware of different provisions of sexual harassment Act.
·         The government should make mandatory the training of complaint committee members and they should hold meetings to review situation quarterly.   
In conclusion, this survey report gives detail study of the status of the working women in 50 institutions and shed light on various forms of sexual harassment faced by women at workplace.  It evidences that only a few institution and organizations have sexual harassment complaint committee. Even those institutions having sexual harassment complaint committees are not functional.  
Had the Supreme Court’s Vishakha Guidelines and the Sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013 been implemented at most of the workplaces then most of the acts of sexual harassment might not have occurred and the women would have been saved from victimization of sexual harassments and discriminations at their workplaces.
The failure of the government to implement the sexual harassment laws at the workplace and prevention of the occurrences of such acts, the indifferent and insensitive approach of the employers to implement the rules and regulations relating to sexual harassment are the matters of grave concern.
For the first time such survey has been conducted by the institution in a very small sphere but even then 60 % cases of sexual harassment of women has been found in the whole survey according to the response of the women which has been discussed in detail in the present report.
The report provides us a glance of the existing situation in Patna. While talking to the women respondents they felt discomfort and were fearful of losing their jobs (55%). Moreover, most of the men had occupied the managerial level posts (72%) and there was a huge difference in the pay scale of men and women, which suggested that the women have do not have a say in most of the matters in the organization. The women were not aware of the sexual harassment laws also (only 20% women aware). And, almost half of them were unaware of their rights. Most of the sexual harassment occurs in the unorganized sector (47%), followed by private sector (28%) and at last in the government sector (25%). Moreover, at most of the institutions the sexual harassment complaint committee has not been formed (only 25% respondents affirmed its formation) and only 8% of the victims so far had approached a forum for redressal. 
The study has revealed that a large number of the working women are affected by the incidents of sexual harassment at their workplace. But, unfortunately the government is not concerned with their situation as no study and survey so far has been conducted by the Government of Bihar to know the actual situation of women at the workplaces. Moreover, the data of the Bihar police even does not provide an account of the sexual harassment cases at large except the sexual harassment of women at workplace cases. Moreover, even some of steps taken by the government are not enough to curb sexual harassment. The situation of the Central government is also the same as it also does not have data specifically on sexual harassment of women at workplace.  

Presentation of the report provided below:


For full PDF please go to the following link