Mararikulam South grama panchayat is giving final touches to a comprehensive gender project to make the panchayat friendly and safe for its women and children, perhaps a first of its kind in the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, T. M. Thomas Isaac, MLA, said that the panchayat has decided to prepare a comprehensive gender project based on the findings of a survey conducted in the panchayat.

The survey results showed that almost every woman was being exposed to sexual harassment either through words or action at least once in a year. A total of 4,681 women participated in a survey conducted towards the last three months in 2011. Out of these women, 2,804 or 60 per cent were subjected to some kind of harassment. At least 22 per cent were subjected to harassment other than lewd remarks, obscene songs or phrases or obscene matters through mobile phones.

A total of 291 or 6 per cent were subjected to lewd gestures, while 362 women or 7 per cent of those surveyed were subjected to domestic harassment.

The survey also cropped up some significant facts like teenage girls were the most harassed. Out of the total number of girls between 12 to 19 years of age, 97 per cent were harassed, while 73 per cent of women between the age of 20 and 40 were harassed.

Also, as per the survey, 50 per cent of women above 40 years of age and 37 per cent of women above 60 years of age were harassed in the panchayat.

While the persistence for sexual favours has shown a rise with the increase in the age of women, lewd remarks were on the wane with increase in age.

Out of the surveyed unemployment women, 70 per cent of them were being harassed. Fisherwomen (73 per cent) were the most harassed among the labourers.Among the labourers in the coir sector who were surveyed, a total of 55 per cent were harassed. Out of the victims surveyed, 56 per cent said that the perpetuators were drunk.

Minister for Social Welfare, M. K. Muneer will inaugurate a workshop, organised to form the basis of the preparation of a gender project, at Sarvodayapuram on March 4, N. P. Snehajan, president, Mararikulam South panchayat said.