V.V. Giri National Labour Institute holds workshop on International Women’s Day
On the occasion of the International Womenâ€™s Day, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute jointly with Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India organised a One-Day Workshop on the theme, World of Work: Gender Dimensions of Sexual Harassment today. The workshop was held to mark the International Womenâ€™s Day and to acknowledge and appreciate the remarkable contribution of women around the world towards development and to secure womenâ€™s rights and shape a more equitable society.
Shri Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, in his inaugural address highlighted the critical role that education can play in bringing about gender equality in every aspect of life. He emphasised that every organisation should initiate measures to address the issues related to sexual harassment on a continuous basis rather than as a one-off exercise. He said that gender equality in the world of work is not only a matter of human rights and justice for workers but also a key instrument in achieving economic prosperity. He noted that the Government of India has initiated a number of measures like permitting night work for women, enhancing maternity leave etc. in the recent past to ensure a safe, secure and enabling work environment.
Shri Manish Kumar Gupta, Director General, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, in his address to the Workshop, noted that attaining gender equality is a challenging issue with huge implications on human development, labour market and productivity. He noted that despite Constitutional provisions of promoting equality at work, women encounter different forms of disadvantages compared with men.
The deliberations of the Workshop focused on the Sexual Harassment (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 enacted on December 2013. The guidelines of this law clearly states that appropriate and necessary steps should be taken by all the employers without any prejudice to make the workplace safe and secure. The Workshop deliberated in detail the key strategies that could be considered in order to achieve this desired objective.
A Panel Discussion on Sexual Harassment in the World of Work was also organised during the event. The panelists represented a wide range of stakeholders such as academic institutions, hospitals, bureaucracy, the legal fraternity, non profit organisations and trade unions. The discussion was passionate and free flowing highlighting sexual harassment as a serious human rights violation. Societal causes, patriarchal mindsets, lack of awareness and disregard of law were identified as reasons for an issue that hampered effective implementation of the law. The discussion highlighted the strong need to empower all concerned stakeholders to work towards building a safe and secure workplace for women.
Dr. ShashiBala, Coordinator, Centre for Gender and Labour, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute made a presentation on the research report, Gender Dimensions at Work and Employment: A Case of Sexual Harassment. This study examined in detail how sexual harassment at workplace is being addressed in different enterprises located in the NCR region. The study, based on detailed analysis of the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee, District Complaints Committee and cases reported on sexual harassment provides number of recommendations to make the workplace safe and secure. The report, inter alia, highlights that there is a strong need to provide appropriate training for members of the Internal Complaints Committee and District Complaints Committee dealing with sexual harassment.