The typically men oriented workplace has been replaced by a large number of women getting employment in every possible field of work. This has given rise to a number of issues that affect the integrity of the women and also have an impact on the physical, mental and social well being of the women. In its different forms, sexual harassment is still a part of the workplace irrespective of the fact that it is reported or not. Women generally do not speak of any act of sexual harassment committed to them. But this is not a trivial issue to be lightly dealt with. Any act of sexual harassment can leave a woman with physical, mental and emotional problems that would have a deep impact on her future life.
The issue of sexual harassment has to be given a serious thought and peopleâ€™s participation should be encouraged to make every workplace safer and healthier. Gender equality includes protection from sexual harassment and right to work with dignity, which is a universally recognized basic human right. The issue is not just confined to the empowerment of the women but this issue is related to the basic human rights of the women to work in a safe and secure work environment being treated equally with the men and no fear of being a subject of sexual harassment at the hands of the male counterparts in the workplace.
Nearly 88% of the female workforce in Indian Information Technology and business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing (BPO/KPO) companies reported having suffered some form of workplace sexual harassment during the course of their work, says a survey conducted by Transforming India, a non governmental organization in the Information Technology and BPO/KPO industries. The report says that about 50% women had been subjected to abusive language, physical contact or been sought sexual favors from. As many as 47% employees did not know where to report, while 91% did not report for fear of being victimized. The study further revealed that there existed poor awareness levels among female employees on the issue. It further revealed that more than 82% of the incidents which could be classified as sexual incidents occurred outside the boundaries of the office and in nearly 72% of the incidents the perpetrator was a superior. It was further found that 60% of the respondents were not aware of the workplace sexual harassment policies of their organizations. Around 10% were only partially aware. Of all the respondents, 77% stated that the details of sexual harassment policies were not part of their hiring process, while only 7% stated that they could recollect some discussion about the topic either during their hiring process or later.