Workplace safety still an issue: survey

It says 36% of respondents from media houses say they have experienced sexual harassment

March 07, 2020 10:46 pm | Updated 10:49 pm IST - Chennai

Many hesitate to report sexual harassment.

Many hesitate to report sexual harassment.

Over 70% of respondents who had approached an internal committee to report sexual harassment at the workplace were not completely satisfied with the outcome, said a survey report released on Saturday by the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) and Gender at Work.

The survey found that 36% of all respondents reported having experienced sexual harassment at the workplaces. Of the respondents who experienced such harassment at work, 53% did not report it to anyone. A small percentage made a report to the internal committee (IC) of their media houses. But 70% of those who made a complaint were not completely satisfied with the outcome, the report found.

Also read | Focus on safe workplaces

Among the women who said that their organisation did not have a mechanism to deal with sexual harassment, 47% had faced sexual harassment.

In the report titled ‘Creating safe workplaces: prevention and redressal of sexual harassment in media houses in India’, the two organisations found that in terms of the kinds of harassment experienced by the respondents, the most common were sexist comments, unwelcome sexual jokes, embarrassing gestures or body language, attempts to establish unwanted romantic and/or sexual relationships, and pestering for dates.

The promise of rewards for compliance, accompanied by threats of mistreatment following a refusal to engage in sexual behaviour, were also reported. In addition, unwanted touching, fondling, sexual assault and rape were documented.

The online survey conducted to assess whether and how effectively media houses across India responded found that a large percentage of respondents had never attended a training workshop on sexual harassment, as required by the law.

“The results of the survey underscore the need to step up awareness raising and other preventive measures to bring about a change in the work culture in media houses,” said Laxmi Murthy, one of the authors.

Also read | Centre for tougher law against sexual harassment at work

“While calling out sexual harassment in other spheres, as they should, the media industry must also look within and set its own house in order,” said Aayushi Aggarwal, another author.

The survey had 456 participants, including journalists, journalism educators, trainers and researchers. Most respondents were based in metropolitan centres such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. More than 70% were full-time employees and about 11% were freelancers, the report stated.

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