Combating sexual harassment: What can unions do?

  •   Create awareness about sexual harassment at the workplace, and the need to combat it. This can be done through posters, handouts, pamphlets, bulletins, notices, badges (something like ‘Zero Tolerance Zone for Sexual Harassment’). 
  •  Ensure that the workplace has a policy to deal with sexual harassment, and has set up a Complaints Committee.      
  • Ensure that sexual harassment is listed as ‘misconduct’ in the service rules of the company.
  • Lobby to ensure union representation on the Complaints Committee, to counter any trends towards anti-labour practices. 
  • Conduct workshops to promote gender sensitivity among union members.
  • Conduct workshops in self-defence and personality development in order to boost the confidence of women union members. 
  • Set up Gender Councils to take the issue forward. 
  • Support any woman who complains about sexual harassment, and assist her in pursuing justice.  

Laxmy Murthy, journalist, extract from Europe-India- a handbook on gender equality in journalism, IFJ, and Getting the Balance right, IFJ

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