Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022
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Did MeToo Create A Safer Workplace For Women In India?

The progress is slow, the resistance to recognition and redress of sexual harassment in the workplace is high, but across India, the tide might just be turning

Did MeToo Create A Safer Workplace For Women In India?
Eyes wide shut: Ink on paper by Bakula Nayak (2019)

NN, an employee of a well-known real estate financing company, had a har­rowing time with her boss, a senior vice-president and father figure to everyone in the organisation. From an occasional complim­ent about her looks, it became a daily irrit­ation. He would touch her inappropriately and pre­­te­nd it was an accidental brush. He would suddenly creep up behind her when she was working and stand uncomfortably close to her. Since her husband’s business was going through a financially critical period, she needed to stay in the job, at least for a while as she earned a high salary. Two months into the harassment, she slapped him one day in full glare of everyone in the office.

“I told him if he ever harassed me again, I would throw acid on his face. I was served a notice for the slap and threat, but he was let off as the management did not believe that an “old, respectable man like him” could indulge in sexual harassment. When the Human Resource head told me this, all I could do was laugh. It was so funny. They started finding fault with my work. My promotion was held back and it became a very hostile work environment,” says NN to Outlook. Subsequently, she quit the job and her tormentor went on to become a pre­si­dent of the division.

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