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Smaller organizations prone to under-reporting women harassment cases: Ficci-EY report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-03-2017 PTI

New Delhi: While larger corporates and multinational corporations (MNCs) are focusing on women’s safety, smaller organizations seem to be prone to serious under-reporting of harassment cases involving females, according to a report.

The Ficci-EY report ‘Reflections on the State of Women Safety at the Workplace in India’ released on Tuesday, ahead of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, observed that failure to report harassment cases, particularly sexual harassment, is seen as a major roadblock for corporates in their endeavour to shape a safe atmosphere for women at work.

“As larger corporates and MNCs look at solving the problem of women safety, both in a proactive and a reactive manner, some sectors and smaller organisations seem to be prone to serious under-reporting,” it highlighted.

The report noted that while men burn the midnight oil without too many security issues, the current environment may not permit women to do so. To manage this problem, an organisation can permit women to look at options such as telecommuting, leaving the office on time and catching up on unfinished work at home. Other measures could include employing female security guards at necessary points in offices and providing for a basic pantry inside the office premises so that women employees need not venture out for dinner when working late, the report pointed out.

It said the organisations must successfully demonstrate zero tolerance toward any form of harassment at the workplace. It should be embedded in an organisation’s various policies and principles, such as the code of conduct.

Moreover, continuously monitoring and revising policies to address specific concerns could also help in mitigating harassment cases in the long run.

The report suggested that women should be encouraged to step up and speak to the relevant committee in the organisation in case of any issues such as harassment and improper conduct.

In severe cases, which may be directed to the government or welfare committees, registered complaints should be fast-tracked so that justice is served for the aggrieved women at a faster rate, said the report.

“Corporates need to conduct gender-sensitisation trainings and awareness programs for both men and women across their operations. Besides providing regular training to employees, there exists a need for robust training modules in organisations that concentrate on gender discrimination.

“A grievance guideline could help a distressed woman in raising her concerns and solving problems,” the report noted.

Pointing out that we live in a connected world where geographical boundaries are often crossed for business and trade, the report suggested that organisations, especially large ones, should conduct sensitisation trainings for expatriate employees before they start work in foreign regions.

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