Creating a Safer Work Environment for Women-Ms. Sherina Kapany, Founder, sunSTRATEGIC

Let’s create a safer work environment for women

In the past few months, the entire world was buzzing with a very rampant and serious issue. No, I am not referring to any war or global crisis, it is something that has been plaguing the society since a very long time. Sexual harassment in the workplace.

The aspiration of becoming independent and successful dwells in both the genders. Each of them strives to achieve their dreams by toiling day and night at their workplace. Through interaction between the two genders is very important to complete daily targets and tasks, there are some boundaries which if crossed can offend and affect a woman both mentally, physically and psychologically.

Even though we’ve come a long way in terms of progress, women working in organizations no matter big or small are harassed every day by a colleague or an authoritarian. Sadly, many cases like these go unreported to protect the dignity of the woman bearing it, along with the dignity of company privileges.

work, bananivissta

 

Due to the awareness spread by the #metoo campaign, the issue has finally gained limelight across the world. Our society has become more accustomed to the phrase “sexual harassment” and there are measures being taken to curb it. In India, sexual harassment is considered a punishable offense with harsh penalty or imprisonment. This law was created to make the working environment safer for women, but is that law is followed? The answer is No. Because the most worrisome part about sexual harassment at the workplace is the under-reporting or No-reporting of the incidents out of fear.

It is very important for women to understand what sexual harassment is? An act of sexual harassment can be identified as an uninvited and uncomfortable pass made at you, in verbal or gestural form.

The kind of environment that we have created for the working women instills them with nothing but fear after an incident. Even if they muster the courage to speak about it, they are either advised to ignore it or think of their dignity and reputation beforehand. This leaves them distraught and also encourages the heinous act in the process which is why most of the women don’t dare to speak of such issues or even discuss it with higher and legal authorities.

We have to build confidence amongst them by teaching them the importance of sharing the incidents that have taken place in order to take some severe actions. We have to teach people that this is not something one should be embarrassed about.

To do that, first, we need to make some changes in our workplace so that such acts don’t go unreported and unpunished. Every company should have a whistleblower. This will help maintain secrecy about the person reporting the case keeping his or her privacy intact. If it is proved that a person has been harassing someone sexually, he should be flagged as a sexual predator in the corporate community as well as the local city council. Companies should conduct strong background checks before hiring someone in their team.

Talking about sunSTRATEGIC, no matter how talented you are, if my employees are not going to be safe around you, you cannot be a part of my organization. I haven’t had a single case of sexual harassment at my workplace. The respect quotient is just too high within the team for each other. In the future, if I face any such issue, immediate actions will be taken. No looking back from it. You can’t be a part of my team if you can’t respect your co-workers.

sunSTRATEGIC was started by me as a voice and platform for the women who have faced the brutality of sexual harassment or any other issues.  I took it up as a mission to bring those voices and channel their energies to a positive note. I personally wanted to help develop careers of women who have never had the opportunity or resources to establish themselves, who now run sunSTRATEGIC successfully. Under the banner of sunSTRATEGIC, we have saved women from becoming harassment targets and trained them to become successful employable individuals. Till date, sunSTRATEGIC has saved several female victims and gainfully employed them through sunSTRATEGIC serving A-Z clients, namely Airtel, ATG, BMW, Cipla, Roche, Droom, Glenmark, Urban Clap, Zydus to name a few.

With the help of my team’s efforts, we have contributed and helped several NGOs like Guria Foundation, Asha Pura Trust, Vimukhti Sanstha, who not only make young girls string and independent but has also saved sexually-assaulted women and has now generated over 30,000 USD in funding through a simple social media campaign and a website creation by us. We support and participate in every activity that will help the people understand the need to actively acknowledge this issue and take severe actions towards it.

 

A person going through this trauma needs psychological and emotional support. But the world seems to focus more on the image and character of the person rather than worrying about their mental health. I hope and I urge every corporate to have a counsellor or therapy support for all the employees who need it as it is one of the major services at sunSTRATEGIC for its employees.

I would very proudly like to state that “With broken people today we are where we are, we are not broken, we are unbreakable.”

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