For the past four years, Ungender team has been working on ensuring the implementation of one of the most socially relevant laws for women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
This work started initially with corporates to advise them on compliance with the guidelines of the Act through an online toolkit that simplified the implementation for workplaces. Our individual offering for organizations to sensitize their employees was offered for as low as INR 50 per employee.
#FactShare2 : Under this Act, every employer is mandatorily required to ensure awareness of individual rights and procedures amongst all the employees.
Our work also took us to getting on board on the Internal Complaints Committees of the organizations and this eventually led to the introduction of India's first and only professional certification in this field by us. The course gave rise to several NGOs and service providers to learn the skills and knowledge required to cater to the clientele.
#FactShare3 : Under this Act, every workplace with ten or more members is required to constitute an Internal Committee to address the implementation of the redressal and investigation mechanisms provided under this law. For remaining workplaces with less than ten members, government is required to constitute Local Complaints Committees.
In our journey, we have also filed RTIs to collect information on the list of District Officers and Local Complaints Committee details to not only assess the ground level implementation but also to provide these relevant information to our corporate and individual clients.
#FactShare4 : Under this Act, every workplace, irrespective of the number of employees is required to submit an Annual Compliance Report to the District Officers in their company's area of operations.
Eventually, we also started telephonic assistance and facilitation to both men and women dealing with instances of sexual harassment and cases against them. This has given us a very balanced understanding of the importance of ensuring that even men understand their rights and the procedures of investigation under this Act. This allows for the monitoring of instances of misuse.
#FactShare5 : Under this Act, provisions and consequences of false allegations ensure that women as an affected party are not able to misuse their rights. However, this relies heavily on the dissemination of information with respect to the procedures of investigation defined under this Act.
After catering to companies and individual clients, we have now arrived at taking charge of the next leg of our work in ensuring implementation of this Act. As organizations continues to evade the compliance implementation and not enough awareness drives exist to reach both men and women, instances of sexual harassment still reach Police Stations and their role in such scenario become critical to the handling of these matters. Two months ago, we took up the task of conducting awareness sessions of the Police Officials on this Act and its guidelines including the procedural mechanisms and consequences of non-compliance for organizations.
#FactShare6 : Under this Act, non-compliance of any of the guidelines mentioned will entail a fine of INR 50,000 and repeated instances may lead to cancellation of business license.
As of today, we have trained 520 Police Officers across two districts (Delhi) from 28 Police Stations. To support the awareness activities further, we are also putting up the posters for guidelines and procedures to be followed in instances of sexual harassment complaints at workplaces. Our "Legal Helpline" number is also circulated across these Police Stations to be used and shared with individuals in need.
All these training sessions were self funded and as we take this work forward, we now look towards your support to conduct the next batch of sessions for another 30 stations.
Asking all of you to support us in our drive for implementation of this law through capacity building of our Police Officers by contributing towards these sessions.
We would love any amount given by you, but for a simple calculation: one Police Station Session costs us INR 6,500. Rest, we leave up to you.
For all our donors, be assured that not only you will have the updates on the sessions conducted, but we would also like to send you a token to remember "Ungender" and your contribution in our own special ways. For now, we are figuring out the best way to do that but do watch out for a surprise thank you.
Look forward to your warm support! Give freely and do not hesitate. Any amount is good amount. :)