Bengaluru

#MeToo: Voices ring out from unorganised sector

Participants at the event in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Participants at the event in Bengaluru on Saturday.  

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‘Most harassment cases not even reported by domestic workers’

With the #MeToo campaign gaining momentum in India, a platform to hear the voices of the unheard from the unorganised sector on Saturday saw scores of women sharing their experiences and deliberating on the need for redressal mechanisms.

At the event organised by the All India Progressive Women’s Association, and the unions of garment workers, pourakarmikas, domestic workers, and women working in State-run road transport corporations, victims of sexual harassment shared ‘me too’ stories from their workplaces, and stories of gender discrimination.

Mary, from the Domestic Workers Rights’ Union, said most sexual harassment cases were not even reported by domestic workers, even if they faced the same at work on a routine basis.

Chandrika (name changed), a transgender, said people from her community had to face the discrimination of their complaints not being taken seriously by the police.

Geeta Menon, secretary, Stree Jagruti Samiti, said, “Domestic workers are vulnerable to various types of harassment. Unlike organised sectors, there are no laws that protect their interests. Their work place is not defined. The victims are not in a position to take up the matter at local complaints authority which are generally located in the district head quarters. We have come out with ad-hoc committees in the apartments or lanes to address their complaints. The labour department should adopt innovative methods to authorise these committees. The RWAs should also come forward to set up a committee in their apartments to address the grievances of domestic workers.”

Stressing upon the need for redressal mechanisms, Maitreyi Krishnan, a lawyer working for the rights of pourakarmikas, said the government should ensure implementation of The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

She said government agencies and private sectors should open up for social audit on functioning of internal complaint committees.

Women’s rights activist Madhu Bhushan said governments should be more proactive in the campaign and ensure that justice is accessible to women in informal or unorganised sectors.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:55:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/metoo-voices-ring-out-from-unorganised-sector/article25415480.ece

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