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When Sexual Harassment At Work Is A Tool To Curtail Women Rising…

Posted: September 18, 2017

Sexual harassment at work cannot be viewed in isolation; this and several other injustices faced by women are the tools of patriarchy to prevent women rising ‘too high’.

Freedom correlates strongly with capabilities and to get the best output, we must ensure that we are free to exercise our capabilities. To build these capabilities, we tend to do a lot of physical and mental labour but still, we lag behind in various spheres because our freedom has been breached by several internal and external factors.

We also suffer from an existential crisis when we are unable to realise our unique selves. Often, we fail to build our capabilities because we have no time to learn or even think twice about our learning. Even after being citizens of an independent democratic nation, we are still struggling for freedom.

It is unfortunate to notice that even after being resourceful, India is lagging behind in various areas. Growing economically does not address every issue. India needs to grow holistically by engaging with youth, one of the greatest assets which India often loses due to brain drain and lack of employment opportunities. Although, there are a lot of schemes focusing on generating employment opportunities like Skill India, Make in India, for promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, just providing them grants will not solve the problems because entrepreneurial skills are also required for capitalising the resources and maximising the productivity.

In India, working hours are increasing while productivity is decreasing because human minds need some refreshment and they do not get enough time to think about themselves.Why can’t we work like humans beings? We are treated like machines who have to execute and run a programme created by employers to display a result or output which is reasonable. We are humans and we have multiple realities to deal with. Even then, we are treated like contractual slaves just because we cannot open companies like our bosses. Truly, our bosses are the worst leaders who have earned in billions by using manpower. Flexible hours are quite enthralling but still, we need to compromise a day or two to fulfill some duties assigned earlier because we could not meet the deadline as we were drained when the assignment was given. Is there no place for interesting assignments or interesting road trips with colleagues? Aren’t these bosses tired of being so pathetic to their employers?

On the other hand, women are not always to allowed to exert their power; somehow after struggling for so long, when they entered into public places, including their workplaces, they are being harassed by their male bosses or hiring managers. Why do women always have to fight for their freedom? There are no safe private rooms or public places for women. The equation of gender equality is too gruesome where a woman’s body is used for mob politics, caste politics, etc. It is impossible for male gazes to ignore what women are doing to outsmart them. Lack of gender consciousness is claiming a lot of women’s lives.

Sexual harassment at the workplace is again born out of the shackles of patriarchy. Harassment at workplace is indicative that women should not attain higher positions because they cannot ‘rule out’ men from their power. The power dynamics is not just a theory but in praxis, this unequal power dynamics is responsible for all types of crimes or violences committed by men on women. It seems like men are fighting with their insecurities by harassing women.

There are provisions in the Indian Penal Code for women to file cases against men but these special laws with an objective of protection are not enough as they are not strictly enforced. Recently, I came to know of an incident where a working woman’s saree was pulled off by her male employer, who asked her to not to report about the incidence if she wanted to continue in her job. She still complained to the company’s Internal Committee and then got her resignation letter. Are we waiting for more harassment to take place for taking any requisite or prerequisite measure to curtail injustices forced upon women?

We need to be more observant and analyse our spaces so that women have enough space to survive and breathe freely. Our society has to realize that a woman’s true potential or power will make a nation more powerful. Gender equality is not a term to be discussed but it is a process which requires involvement of all genders.

Top image via Unsplash

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I pursued my post graduation in Women's Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences,

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