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Gender Sensitization (with special focus on Sexual Harassment at Workplace). Sex Vs Gender. Sex. Gender. Behavioral, cultural, psychological & emotional traits associated with one’s sex Influenced by external factors Social Construction Man & Woman (and now has a broader definition).

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sex vs gender
Sex Vs Gender



Behavioral, cultural, psychological & emotional traits associated with one’s sex

Influenced by external factors

Social Construction

Man & Woman (and now has a broader definition)

  • 2 major forms that occur in any species on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures
  • Inherent – by birth
  • Biological composition
  • Male & Female
  • A group of ideas, values, beliefs, rules laid down by our society
  • It shapes our attitude & the activities or behavior expected from us
  • What it is to be a Man & Woman in everyday life
  • Societies may be anywhere – but what it takes to be a Man or a Woman is, by and large, the same everywhere
traditional norms
Traditional Norms
  • Female gives birth to the off spring
  • Naturally, taking care of the off-spring is considered a female’s responsibility
  • Male is considered to be responsible for gathering resources
  • So, society traditionally defines –
    • Women as care givers/house keepers
    • Men as providers engaging in productive economic activity
  • In most of the societies, work done by men is valued more
    • So it’s the most coveted one.
    • It has access to maximum resources & opportunities
    • Consequently has more power
changing norms
Changing Norms
  • Now women are getting educated & employed
  • But they are expected to handle both their job & the household chores
  • So women have restrictions, which men don’t
  • Thus men are perceived as better workers because –
    • Men can stay long hours
    • Men can work on holidays
    • Men lay better focus on their profession
    • Men can work anywhere
  • So men get better opportunities, resources & possibilities
  • Men get more power
changing norms1
Changing Norms
  • Leads to unequal power relationships in the society - Mainly the workplace
  • Conflict or Violence always ensues between 2 unequal entities
    • It can be Individuals/states/groups
  • Workplaces are spaces where power is wielded and authority worshipped
  • Now more & more women are entering work spaces
changing norms2
Changing Norms
  • Bringing about equality
    • Better distribution of available social resources
    • Availability of the same possibilities, opportunities, options for everyone
    • Stop harsh behavior against the other group
    • End discrimination
    • Sensitivity towards others
  • It can be between
    • a superior and subordinate
      • a power relationship
    • colleagues –
      • Majority of male employees
      • Lack of sensitivity
      • Presumption that working women expect or deserve such a treatment
    • Souring of a consensual relationship
      • even if one party withdraws other should stop their advances
      • or else it can be seen as harassment
sexual harassment at workplace
Sexual harassment at workplace
  • Is perceived as a personal injury or an individual problem
  • But
    • it is a malaise which affects the society
    • it leads to discrimination at the workplace
    • it affects Constitutional rights of equality and dignity
    • it sabotages work performance
    • it affects the entire work environment
    • it impairs progress both personal and institutional
    • it costs both the individual and the organization
  • Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly
  • Defines discrimination against women as

‘any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex’

  • 99 countries are signatories, India ratified it in July 1993
  • India is legally bound to put CEDAW provisions into practice
  • Should submit periodical reports on measures taken to implement these provisions
  • By ratifying this, India has agreed to –
    • Incorporate the principle of equality of men & women in our legal system
    • Abolish all discriminatory laws & adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women
    • Establish tribunals & other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination
    • Ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
protection of human rights act 1993
Protection of Human Rights Act , 1993
  • Defined ‘Human Rights’ as

'human rights’ means the rights relating to Life, Liberty, Equality and Dignity of the individual, guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in lndia

vishaka others vs state of rajasthan
Vishaka & Others Vs State of Rajasthan
  • In 1992, Rajasthan launched a drive against Child marriages
  • Bhanwari Devi, 33 – a Saathin(*) in Bhateri village, Rajasthan prevented a child marriage in an upper caste community
  • After that she was subjected to unwelcome sexual gestures & words from men of that community
  • She complained to the local authorities but in vain
  • Her husband was thrashed and she was raped by 5 men belonging to the said community

(*) -Saathin’s assist the State Government in implementing the Women’s Development related schemes

vishaka others vs state of rajasthan1
Vishaka & Others Vs State of Rajasthan
  • Her complaint was not accepted by the authorities
  • When it was accepted, the investigation was lopsided
  • Faulty medical examination
  • Humiliation & ostracism in the name of honour by her own community
  • After a protracted legal battle, Lower court acquitted the accused
  • 5 NGOs took up her case and filed a PIL under the platform of ‘Vishaka’
  • 1997 - the Apex court delivered a historic judgment in the Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan
    • Identified the incident as a Criminal action & action to be taken accordingly
    • Issued guidelines to address the issue of sexual harassment at workplace
  • Recognized Sexual Harassment as a violation of Fundamental rights - Articles 14, 19 & 21
  • Filled a legal vacuum & formulated alternate mechanisms which
    • were pro active & prioritized ‘prevention’
    • were binding on all workplaces
    • created accountability

to redress the issue sexual harassment

  • The State/employer should –
    • ensure dignity of women at work
    • create awareness about sexual harassment at workplace
    • devise effective redress mechanism
  • Moving from ‘violation of modesty’ to ‘violation of right to equality’
  • Inclusion of a third party in the Redress mechanisms
goi orders
GoI Orders (*)
  • February 1998 - the CCS (Conduct) Rules 1964 were amended
  • 5 forms of Sexual Harassment at workplace were listed
    • Physical contact or advances
    • Demand for sexual favours
    • Sexually coloured remarks
    • Showing pornography
    • Any other unwelcome, physical, verbal, non verbal conduct of sexual nature
  • Sexual Harassment was made a part of Rule 3(1) (iii) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules 1964
  • Sexual Harassment was identified as a ‘Misconduct’

(*) – All GoI Orders/ OMs are available in the DoPT Website

goi orders1
GoI Orders
  • Stated that
    • Victims or witnesses should not be victimized or discriminated against
    • Victim can seek their own transfer or transfer of the delinquent Government servant
    • Appropriate disciplinary action should be initiated against the delinquent Government Servant
  • A Complaint Mechanism for redress of these grievances should be in place
    • Preferably headed by a woman officer
  • Creation of awareness by display of the guidelines
goi orders2
GoI Orders
  • 1999 –
    • The Complaints Committee should be headed by a sufficiently senior officer
  • 2002 –
    • The findings of the Committee should be treated as the Preliminary report
  • 2005 –
    • The Report of the Complaints Committee will be the ‘Inquiry Report’ (*)

(*) MedhaKotwalLele & Others Vs Union of India & Others

goi orders3
GoI Orders
  • 2005-
    • Sub Rule 2 of Rule 14 was amended
    • Rule 14 (2) of the CCS (CCA) Rules 1965 says-

“……..Provided that where there is a complaint of sexual harassment within the meaning of Rule 3 (C) of the CCS (Conduct) Rules 1964, the Complaints Committee established in each Ministry or Department or Office for inquiring into such COMPLAINTS, shall be deemed to be the inquiring authority appointed”

goi orders4
GoI Orders
  • 2009 -
    • Enquiry will be held ‘as far as practicable’ in accordance with the procedure laid down in the CCS (CCA) Rules 1965
    • The Committee should meet once a quarter to discuss preparedness related issues
    • Changes in the composition of the Committee to be made promptly
    • Information about the Committee to be displayed prominently
recent act
Recent Act
  • Sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013
  • Enacted on 22.04.2013
  • The Legal provisions emanated form the guidelines issued by the Apex Court in 1997
  • Workplaces in the unorganised sectors also under the ambit of the law
  • Any woman who enters the workplace is covered by this law
  • She can be a/an
    • client
    • customer
    • apprentice
    • daily wage earner or
    • worker in ad-hoc capacity
  • Women in any workplace, irrespective of its size or nature, should have access to a redressal mechanism
salient features
Salient features
  • Re defines Sexual Harassment (*)
    • implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment
    • implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment
    • implied or explicit threat about present or future employment
    • interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive work environment
    • humiliating treatment likely to affect health or safety
    • Students, research scholars in colleges/university and patients in hospitals have also been covered
    • Redefined workplace

(*)-as opposed to the 5 actions which denoted sexual harassment earlier

salient features1
Salient Features
  • Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee
  • Setting up of Local Complaints Committee (LCC)
    • to be constituted by the designated District Officer at the district or sub-district levels, depending upon the need
  • Atleast one half of all such Committees will be women members
  • Atleast one member will preferably have a legal background
  • Atleast one member will belong to Scheduled Castes/Tribes or the backward classes
  • Members will hold office for 3 years
salient features2
Salient Features
  • Aggrieved woman should make a complaint within 3 months of the incident
    • Committee can relax this limit if its convinced about the reason for delay
    • Reason to be recorded in writing
  • Other persons or legal heirs can make a complaint on behalf of the aggrieved woman
  • Aggrieved woman can request for conciliation
  • No monetary settlement (as a part of conciliation)
  • Interim measures
    • Transfer of either of the parties to another workplace
    • Grant of leave up to 3 months
    • Any other relief (as requested by the Complainant)
salient features3
Salient Features
  • The Committee should
    • complete its enquiry within 90 days of the complaint
    • submit its report within 10 days of completion of the enquiry
  • Employer should take action on the report within 60 days of receipt of the report
  • Action against the Complainant & the Witnesses for
    • Malicious complaints
    • False allegations
    • Production of forged/misleading documents
  • Inability to substantiate should not be treated as a malicious complaint
  • Malicious intent should be established after a suitable enquiry
  • Contents of the Complaint and inquiry proceedings should not be made public
duties of the employer
Duties of the employer
  • Provide safe working environment at workplace
  • Display details of the Local Complaints Committee
  • Display the penalties which can be awarded in such cases
  • Assist Complainant in filing a written complaint
  • Sensitize employees through workshops and training programs
  • Cooperate with the enquiry proceedings of the Complaints Committee
  • Train colleagues on how to identify & deal with sexual harassment
  • Assist aggrieved woman employee to file a complaint with the appropriate Police authority (if need arises or the Complainant desires so)
  • Treat sexual harassment as a misconduct and initiate action accordingly
current set up dop
Current set up – DoP(*)
  • Every Circle has a Complaints Committee
  • Composition of the Committee-
    • Chairperson – Lady Officer, JAG and above rank
    • 2 women members – IP and above
    • 1 male member – PS Gr B and above
    • 1 ex-officio member – reputed NGOs working for the cause of women’s empowerment

(*)-Revised provisions as per the Sexual harassment at Workplace Act 2013 are yet to be received

& Ministry of WCD is developing certain rules for process to be followed at enquiry

proactive measures
Proactive Measures
  • Become legally literate, Understand your rights & Educate others
  • Carry out safety audits in your workplace
  • Display details about the Committee, penal provisions prominently at your workplace
  • Do not be a mute witness to harassment/violence - Reach out to someone who needs support
  • Read, think, discuss about gender violence and sexual harassment
  • Participate in social initiatives (*) – Forum discussions, workshops etc
  • Assist your subordinates/colleagues in filing a complaint

(*) Limited by the provisions in the Conduct Rules 1965

proactive measures1
Proactive Measures
  • Do not view sexual harassment as personal injury/problem
  • View sexual harassment as an infringement of Constitutional rights
  • Move from ‘the way things are’ to ‘the way things should be’
  • Speak up against sexual harassment at workplace
  • Understand the importance of documentation
  • Understand that workplace sexual harassment demeans, intimidates, offends, excludes & limits women