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Sexual Harassement

Sexual Harassment Policy
While exact statistics of the number of women to men working in NGOs in India is not known, we can safely assume that significant proportion of workforce and volunteers in NGOs, CBOs and most of the workforce or participants in SHGs are women. In the NGO Sector, women may suffer sexual harassement from the immediate superiors or the seniors in the organisation. There is also a possibility of sexual harassement from people in the funding agencies.

According to The Supreme Court definition, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, such as physical contact, a demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Harassment takes place if a person subjects another person to an unwelcome act of physical intimacy, like grabbing, brushing, touching, pinching etc; makes an unwelcome demand or request (whether directly or by implication) for sexual favours from another person, and further makes it a condition for employment/payment of wages/increment/promotion etc.; makes an unwelcome remark with sexual connotations, like sexually explicit compliments / cracking loud jokes with sexual connotations / making sexist remarks etc. ; shows a person any sexually explicit visual material, in the form of pictures / cartoons / pin-ups / calendars / screen savers on computers / any offensive written material/pornographic e-mails, etc.; engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which could be verbal, or even non-verbal, like staring to
make the other person uncomfortable, making offensive gestures, kissing sounds, etc.

Responsibility of the NGO Management
NGO managements must know that it is their legal responsibility to provide safe working environment for women free from sexual harassment and discrimination and that you can be held liable for sexual harassment by employees.

Appreciate that an absence of complaints about sexual harassment does not necessarily mean an absence of sexual harassment. It may mean that the recipients of sexual harassment think that there is no point in complaining and this is dangerous and you can be caught unawares by the law.