Monday, September 23, 2013

Introduction to the Campaign

Since the human civilization came into existence women have not been treated at par with men. They have been treated as a commodity or object of sex and pleasure and child bearing machine. The women have been denied dignified existence in our society since the very beginning. They are being subject to different forms of atrocities from household to the workplace. Our male dominated society is not accepting their contribution to the development and the state has pushed to the status of second citizen. Various methods of persecutions such as rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, witch craft etc. have been used to subjugate them.
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.
The available data on sexual harassment reveals that women are not safe and not treated with dignity neither in the developed world nor in the developing world. The international organizations such as ILO, FAO, UNFPA, the World Bank and the United Nations have extensively reported on sexual harassment of women.
Different international conventions to which India is a signatory and the national laws, state laws and local laws in India on sexual harassment are also highlighted in the report. The provisions relating to sexual harassment are provided in UNO, CEDAW, ILO, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, World Bank, European Union has been incorporated. 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. The Bihar government has not passed any law in this regard. Moreover, it is also not taking adequate measures to implement the Vishakha Guidelines and the sexual harassment law passed in the year 2013.             
In India, the cases of sexual harassment do not come in the spot light as media does not report the cases of sexual harassment at workplace unlike the cases of physical aggression – rape, molestation, domestic violence, murder, etc. Women just bypass it for fear of being stigmatized and being thrown out of employment, and being ostracized by family members. Bedsides, the management also overlooks this matter and police is not sensitive enough to register these cases. The condition of working women in Bihar is even worse. The sexual harassment cases do not come in light as women are not vocal, even if any woman complaints to the management/police/other authorities on such matter, they are not sensitive to take up such cases and the women is further victimized.

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