“Sexual harassment is everywhere”, shares a 24 year old woman respondent. “I would be surprised to know if any woman has not been subjected to any form of harassment at least once in her life” she says further.
As much as these remarks may appear shocking, it is an unfortunate truth in our society where women had to fight their way through to reach top and yet be subjected to the misogynistic remarks and treatment. The same was reflected in a recent online survey conducted by us at The Analysis (TA) on anti sexual harassment laws.
Almost 57% women answered in affirmation of having been sexually harassed in some form at their workplace or institution or at home in the survey. Moreover, around 87% women never reported such instances of sexual harassment to any authority due to fear of losing the job or risking their own life.
The survey was conducted amongst the working women, girls studying in colleges or schools and homemakers. 47% women respondents were in the age group of 23 to 30 years, 35% women belonged to the age group 19 to 22 years and almost 16% women were above the age of 30.
The Analysis undertook the survey on the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2021. The objective of the survey was to understand the awareness level and perceptions regarding the anti sexual harassment laws in the country. 245 women and girls participated in the survey by TA.
Key findings of the Survey
- 98% women are aware of sexual harassment occurring through online medium.
- 87% women never reported any instances of sexual harassment to the concerned authority.
- 83% women responded that they are well aware about the existing laws on sexual harassment.
- 70% women felt safe at their workplace.
- 68% respondents said that the organization in which they worked or studied did not conduct workshops on awareness of sexual harassment regularly.
- 57% women, at some point of time, have been subjected to sexual harassment either at their workplace or school/college or at home.
- 56% respondents said that their institute had an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) which is a mandatory provision under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act). On the other hand, 25% women are not at all aware about the concept of ICC.
- 43% women said that they chose to remain silent because of the fear of societal stigma.
- 15% women knew someone who has been subjected to some kind of sexual harassment.
“The survey highlights a lot of areas for concern. Despite high awareness amongst the women, there is a dismal rate of reporting. This needs to be studied in depth”, says Gautam Kumar from The Analysis. “We are planning to do more detailed research in coming times to study these issues affecting gender justice at large. We are really thankful to all the women who participated in our survey” adds Gautam.
“These stats show us the very well known fact of how women have been keeping quiet. But, I am sure cases like Priya Ramani will encourage more and more women to speak up, which is the need of the hour”, says Utkarsha, a respondent to the survey and a student of Gender studies. “Women are at risk in all the places, including their own homes. There is a massive need to sensitize our male counterparts and the society at large”, explains Utkarsha.
Survey further revealed that 70% of women respondents felt largely safe at workplaces or educational institutes or homes.
“Creating safe and secure workplaces must be a top priority for all”, says Neha Tripathi, a respondent to survey and an Assistant Professor of law. “More inclusive and friendly the workplaces are, the higher the participation of women will be. A lot needs to be done in this regard”, she adds.
Editorial Note: The sample size is limited to a specific number due to various reasons hence we don’t claim that it reflects women’s position entirely. Having said that it can not be at any cost denied that the results are troubling.
(Report by Anubhav Kumar. Contributor at TA and an LL.M. Candidate in Constitutional Law at Maharashtra National law University, Aurangabad. He tweets at @iam_anubhav)
The Analysis (TA) is a research and communication group | Analyzing Law, Policy and Political Affairs of India. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org