Here is an avenue for women to air their grievances

For all women who were longing for a women’s forum to air and resolve their experience of harassment both at home and in the workplace, the District-level Women Special Advisory Committee is sure to be a place of solace.

The committee will listen to women’s issues and help them to resolve their problems. It has also been entrusted with powers to take action and forward recommendations, if necessary.

The committee was established in December 2011 and had resolved half-a-dozen women's issues presented at the grievance meetings held every Monday at the Collectorate.

“Sexual harassment at workplace is rampant but no one talks about it,” says Kannammal, Canara Bank employee. “Women, irrespective of their educational qualification and knowledge, encounter harassment in all forms. And they are not able to come out for two reasons – no proper forum and they want a forum that could deal with issues confidentially.”

All government departments are supposed to have a women’s forum to deal with harassment issues. But many women face harassment from their own colleagues and superiors. How can we expect women to seek help from a wing that functions within their respective departments? This point remains unaddressed.

“This forum is open to all,” says M.Jeya Ruban, Survey and Statistical Inspector. “If the complainant wants the forum to maintain privacy it will maintain privacy.”

“Even students can contact the committee and share their problems which otherwise they cannot share with friends and parents,” says Manoranjitham, Agricultural Officer.

The committee has members from various government departments and functions under the chairmanship of the district collector. R. Anandhavalli, District Social Welfare Officer, is the member secretary. The other members are M. Jeya Ruban, Survey and Statistical Inspector of District Industries Centre, Manoranjitham, Agricultural Officer, Joint Director of Agriculture Office, Kannammal of Canara Bank, Hamdunisha, Divisional Excise Officer, Collectorate, S.Vasuki, Protection Officer, District Social Welfare Officer, and S. Kausalya, Inspector, All Women Police Station, Tallakulam.

Students, housewives, and working women of organised and unorganised sectors can contact the committee either in person or over the phone. They can also send letters to The Collector, District-level Women Special Advisory Committee, District Collectorate, Madurai.

The committee will sit at the Collectorate on Mondays between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The phone numbers are 98430-24878 and 9655155997.