If one really wants to know the intensity of MeToo, one should visit the site – “Me Too Rising”, developed by Google. It moves my heart every time I visit the site, and it makes me think of the possible solutions to deal with the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. I cannot help myself, but think!
Lately, I have been asking my corporate friends if they have ICC
(Internal Complaints Committees) in their respective corporate companies. It is disheartening to know that most of them are not even aware of what the ICC is. We as a nation are producing engineers and managers but are failing to create leaders. It is shameful to know that most people who are working in an organisation are not aware of the redressal mechanisms which are available to them to deal with the issue. Not even after the rise of the MeToo movement – due to which various powerful men have come under scrutiny.
Gender equality in the workplace is still a “long-term goal” to be achieved in our country. No wonder that the female labour force
participation rate in our country is abysmal. Regrettably, it is just 27.4% according to the data published by the National Sample Survey Organisation. Women have been leaving the workforce in huge numbers rather than joining up. Sexual harassment is only one of the causes for such a scenario. All sorts of stereotypes like women are not good enough; they could get pregnant, they don’t know enough, they are too sensitive etc. also act as deterrents to women’s self-esteem and their overall performance in the organisation. Researches have proven again and again that gender diversity at workplace increases the efficiency of the organisation in many ways, yet we have failed to recognise the importance of taking crucial steps at the leadership level to ensure gender equality at a workplace.
I have been thinking along these lines for many days and have come up with some insights into how and what can be done in this regard at various levels in educational institutions, corporate companies and government policies. These are just a few of all possible solutions, and I am looking forward to suggestions and improvements.
Some of them are as follows:
- Gender as a subject should be taught in the undergraduate colleges – so that both men and women become aware of gender issues and are prepared well enough to enter into the workplace. They must be taught “human skills” in addition to technical and professional skills in order to excel in their career and their life.
- Corporations should hire master students from Women Studies department of renowned social science colleges to form their Internal Complaints Committee. These students are gender experts and have an edge over others in understanding gender issues and are sensitive enough to ensure gender equality at workplaces. They can see even the hidden forms of gender harassment which are subtle enough to be overlooked by other leaders in the organisation.
- Regular training sessions must be held in all workplaces to impart knowledge of existing laws like Vishakha guidelines which deal with sexual harassment at workplace.
- A regular inspection must be done in organisations by special groups whose sole purpose should be to maintain the Gender Equality Index (GEI) of each company. Companies should strive to improve their GEI as part of their brand management and overall ranking among all organisations.
For your suggestions and inputs, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org