Sexual harassment: Plethora of agony of working women( First Edition)

Kaustav Ghosh

“The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence.”                                                                                     -Mahatma Gandhi

Abstract-In this era of globalization and digitalization women are leading from the front in every sphere of life. Be it as a C.E.O of a company or as a head of the state, they have proved their worth in every single time. But when we see they are dragged forcefully into household job and confined to procuring children as a tool; this puts a shame in the picture of modern civilization. Who can set sails to Moon and Mars, I am sure they are capable of taking their nation to a height which was never thought before. Sexual harassment in workplaces is a burning and contemporary issue. But after observing carefully all the newspaper we can realise that this problem has been widen so much. Not only in workplaces but here and there they are facing the curse of eve teasing and sexual harassment. In this context we need to address this problem in broaden sense because when you are confining any woman, you are confining the society, the nation into a dark dungeon.

Introduction-After going through the title of my article anyone may have a question that why I have mentioned the ‘agony of working women’ instead of the sexual harassment a woman face in her workplace. In this modern era of digitalisation, specifically for the last ten to fifteen years we can see the transition and how number of working woman increasing in every corner of the industry. Be it as an engineer, I.T expert, I.P.S officer, scientists to a self employed entrepreneur; women are equally contributing towards the growth of their nation. They are equally making their nation proud. Mainly after the digital revolution woman are not only well acquainted with the household matters but also well versed with their respective industries. In India we all know that we have 33% reservation for woman in Parliament and in other sub-ordinate Legislation. Due to high quality education, infrastructure and welfare measure of the government in India and in other civilised nation the number of girls increasing in every school and colleges; they are pursuing their passion as their profession. They are not confined to household work like before. In fact some time they are the major contributor in their family income. So it can be presumed that women are no way behind but way ahead in many fields. We have heard the term ‘Sexual harassment in workplace’ for mainly last two decades. Be it in government or private organisation the agony of sexual harassment occurred here and there. This problem is so deep rooted consists of complex sociological scenario. When I was studying Bachelor Of law, in my 4th year there was a paper of labour law and I have heard the phrase ‘In course of employment’ in it. The problem has to be interpreted broadly because not only in workplaces a woman had to face sexist remark or any kind of harassment by word spoken, written or by any gesture. As an example a woman, either working independently or in a firm, office etc under someone going to the office, educational institution or returning to the home after finishing her work may face any kind of sexual harassment. The person harassing the woman may be her office colleague, known, unknown person or just a mere passerby. We have read it in newspaper that in Law making body some member those objectionable remarks passed to the female member of that august house which is nothing but to be considered as a sexual harassment in the workplaces. This is a matter of grave concern. I have tried to address this problem with broad interpretation and explanation in this research of mine.

Agony of a working woman: Woman symbolizes of power and progress. Confining them is nothing but confining the whole nation into dark dungeon. In this is modern era when women are taking their nation to a new height but unfortunately still there some narrow minded ‘insects’ resides in our society who will always try to drag them behind and confine them into procuring children only. This is a very firmly implanted problem and I have been taught from my parents and from my learned seniors that it is absolutely futile to discuss on any problem. We all know the problem which is going on. There are discussion, dialogue, seminar, symposium usually take place to bring out the solution so we can get rid out of this burning problem. I will try to bring out the solution while discussing existing provision to fight with sexual harassment.

                                              Any kind of harassments towards women are nothing but a shameful blot to the term civilisation. We have no right to talk about woman empowerment until we fight it out against the barbaric sexual harassment. It is important to note that by blaming man only will not serve the purpose. But it bitter truth that how many woman raise their voice, objection to those objectionable remark, unethical gestures. How many women hold the hand of each other when one of them faces disgraceful behaviour either in office or road. Every year we celebrate ‘Durgapuja’, ‘Navratri’ but could not learn the inner meaning of this worship. Woman or in a bigger sense womanhood itself the power to fight against demonic force. If they don’t stand up for the protection of the society these demonic force(unethical, filthy behaviour,gesture)  will eat up the whole civilisation.

                                               We have strong law as prescribed by Indian Penal Code but alas! We can see only misuse and abuse of those legal provisions. No legal provision is strong enough unless or until the group for whose benefit the law is enacted is aware of and bold enough to use this provision.

                                                Five years ago there was a debate competition in our department of law where I was a participant. The topic was “Security of women: Responsibility of Whom”. I had raised my voice said that woman empowerment is the touchstone of every civilisation. A nation cannot be called as civilised nation when the State and its society cannot make way for woman safety and woman empowerment. Nature is consists of woman and man who used to complete and complement each other. Women themselves are enough to safeguard their rights; but in my opinion it is the holy duty of the every corner of the society to fight against those evil to safeguard the causes of womanhood. Dearest daughter, Wonderful wife, Superb sister, Magnificent mother all resides in a single woman. In Mahabharata Bhisma advice King Yudhisthir while he was lying in bed of arrows:-

“By respecting all the woman and womanhood only, you can offer respect and gratitude towards your own nation. Any kind of sexual harassment will only ultimately ensure mass destruction of civilisation, as we had already witnessed it in kurukshetra.”

(This paper was presented at the 2nd International Virtual Conference on “Women’s World: Epitome of Victimisation and Emancipation” organized by Vidhi Aagaz, International Journal of Law Management and Humanities ,International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation and Centre for Constitutional Research and Development on .)

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1)Gittinger, Juli L.. Hinduism and Hindu Nationalism Online. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis, 2018.

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