Sexual Harassment in Corporate World- Has it been Buried Deep for too long?

January 29, 2018 moGossip

The year 2017 was a revolutionary one. It definitely was the year of the women. Why? Because the women spoke-up; defying the silence that has been dooming them for too long- decades perhaps. The #MeToo campaign will be one that is going to spoken about for years to come.

When victims spoke in unison

  The phrase #MeToo was being used by activist Tarana Burke long to help victims of the sexual offense. The campaign went viral when actress Alyssa Milano nudged women to come forward with their stories.

  In the first 24 hours, Facebook saw 12 million posts with the use of the hashtag. In India too, the numbers were more than expected. The campaign did not change anything in perspective, but it initiated the conversation and for the first time many women across the country spoke-up.

Harassment in the Corporate sector - Has the situation been brushed aside?

   In a country like India, where women have become a significant part of the workforce only in the last decade, cases of sexual offenses have been brushed under the carpet for too long. A colleague who passes offensive comments on looks or dresses, to ‘accidental’ bumps and touches by men at the workplace, to answering inappropriate questions, the Indian women in corporate have seen them all.

  From Supreme Court judges to scientists to CEOs, the elite too has been blamed for sexual misconduct with the women colleagues. Take the case of Phaneesh Murthy, the Ex- Infosys CEO who according to one of his colleague’s claim was the father of her child. This offense was a repetition, as he was in a similar situation in 2002, after which Infosys sacked him.

  Mahesh Murthy, an influential figure in the Indian start-up space and the head of a digital agency Pinstorm is now facing legal proceedings after many women have accused him of sexual advancements.

  In Hollywood circles, after Weinstein, Aziz Ansari, a well-known actor, and producer of a Netflix series faces the heat of allegations, so much that at a recent award ceremony he did not receive applause when he won an award.

Who can forget the shock-waves that shook the country when Tarun Tejpal (editor-in-chief of Tehelka) and Justice AK Ganguly (Ex-Supreme Court judge) were accused of sexual harassment?

  These cases are like brushing the surface. According to the Indian National Bar Association Survey, 38% of the participants said that they faced sexual harassment at workplace. Of the numbers, 69% were silent about it.

So, What Next?

     Given the narrow mindset of our society, women are often accursed of being selfish when they get vocal about sexual harassment. Blaming innocent men is not a woman’s way of getting up the ladder. Indian women know better. What needs to change is the society at large.

  The society should take collective responsibility for bringing about a change. Education should spread to the corners of the nation and every woman, be it rural or urban should find ways to empower herself. It is a long road ahead, and one can only hope it does not take decades for new laws to be passed.

 

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