Fellow: Sunil Maske
Grant Year: 2019
Location: Cantonments across Maharashtra State, India
Organization: Sadhana Institute for Sustainable Development
Project title: Awareness, Advocacy & Compliance of “Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Work Place Act”
Project summary: Sadhana Institute for Sustainable Development aims to improve workplace safety and health for women across the state of Maharashtra. Officially, about two women report harassment at their workplace every day in India, this only includes those cases reported to the National Commission for Women. Moreover, the women working in the unorganized sector (agriculture, migrant workers, artisans, domestic help, etc.) do not have access to the law because they are not registered with the government and hence are not protected under the law. Complaints from the unorganized sector are expected to be reported at the District level Local Complaint Committee, which is inaccessible for women because of its distance from villages. Many women may also be reluctant to report because the Committee is comprised of only men. To date, no case has been registered with Local Complaint Committee. Moreover, the women residing in the cantonment board jurisdiction do not report complaints because they are not aware of the law and because they fear the loss of their jobs.
Sadhana Institute for Sustainable Development will advocate with cantonment authorities in three cantonment boards (Aurangabad, Bhingar – Ahmednagar, Devlali – Nashik) in Maharashtra State to enact a system for addressing issues of sexual harassment at workplace for 275 organized working sector women and 3,000 unorganized working sector women over the next year under the existing Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act (2013). Effective implementation of the Act will eliminate the sexual harassment that many women face and create safe and healthy workplaces. Sadhana Institute for Sustainable Development will train and mobilize 60 women leaders in the community to regularly engage with government officials, monitor workplaces, and support women who have experienced sexual harassment at work. These women leaders will participate in the quarterly review and planning meetings so that their views are included in the implementation of action plans. Sadhana Institute for Sustainable Development will create awareness among working men and women and sensitize and advocate with the government officials for compliance with provisions under the Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act (2013), which will protect over 3,000 women at work in the cantonment board jurisdiction.