The #MeToo movement unravelled the dirty-but-open-secret of workspaces across the world by exposing cases of sexual harassment in offices. While this was earlier dealt with privately with women changing their offices or career paths, now there is a renewed push on companies to install Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) in offices to prevent cases of sexual harassment. However, a new survey has revealed that 56% of women believe sexual harassment at the workplace has increased over the years.

Additionally, 53% of women said that they have faced sexual comments, gestures, and jokes at the workplace. A career enhancement platform for women professionals by the name of Pink Ladder conducted a study titled “Reach and Impact of Sexual Harassment Policies in India”, through its International Alliance for Gender Studies. The research reached out to around 200 women from 80 organisations across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, and New Delhi.

The key finding of the study is that close to 80% women know the policies against sexual harassment at the workplace, but almost 30% women still hesitate to complain to the internal committee about such incidents.

“There is a need for companies to increase awareness around sexual harassment by defining the conducts that define harassment through periodic sensitisation workshops, forums, talks, and discussions. The first step towards this is to understand the reach and impact of current policies and that’s what we have aimed to achieve through this study,” said Soujanya Vishwanath, co-founder, Pink Ladder, Economic Times reported.

Over 45% of women believe their company’s internal complaints committee is not fully aware of POSH policies and guidelines. More than 50% of the respondents weren’t sure if they would continue to work at the same work if they faced sexual harassment despite having the machinery in place to deal with it. And 65% of women believe that gender sensitisation workshops and training initiative can help colleague become fair and supportive and aware of such issues at the workplace. This could help victims gain the trust of other employees who can then support her in reporting such incidents.

The key finding of the study is that close to 80% women know the policies against sexual harassment at the workplace, but almost 30% women still hesitate to complain to the internal committee about such incidents.

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The research was released at a panel discussion titled “The Real Change: Reach and Impact of Sexual Harassment policies in India.” “Though illegal in many countries around the globe, sexual harassment (SH) continues to negatively impact people’s lives at work. Despite almost four decades of legal, policy, and organisational efforts, SH damages careers, perpetuates inequity and hurts both individuals and organisations. Research suggests that commonly used approaches to preventing and addressing SH just don’t work very well.

Leaders in impacted organisations need a new approach,” said Prof Robyn Catagnus, Chicago School of Psychology and International Alliance for Gender Studies Member who has contributed an interesting perspective around this topic in this report, The Hans India reported.

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