In order to make it more convenient for government employees to report cases of harassment in the workplace, the women and child development (WCD) ministry launched “SHe-box” – that is, Sexual Harassment e-box, akin to a complaint box albeit online, where victims can report incidents.
This service, that will be hosted on the ministry’s website www.wcd.nic.in, needs the government employee to simply log in, to be able to lodge their complaints. It was incepted after various women employees complained that the existing mechanism to resolve grievances of this nature was not efficient, and the judgments were often delayed.
“Also many women are hesitant to come forward and complain against a colleague/senior where she is working. SHe-box provides anonymity to complainants,” said a senior WCD ministry official, according to this HT report, adding, “Once a complaint is registered, we will forward it to the ministry/department where the woman works. We will also follow it up with the respective ministry as to what action has been initiated.”
In fact, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi even intends to take stock of the problem by conducting nation-wide surveys to gauge who widespread the incidence of sexual harassment in a professional environment is. “We keep asking government organisations and private sector to send us report on whether ICCC are functional and how many complaints have been filed and disposed off. The response has been not so good and compliance is limited,” said a WCD ministry official.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, passed in February 2013, mandates any organization with an employee force greater than ten, to induct a committee that directly looks into cases of harassment in a professional setting, but according to a FICCI-EY November 2015 report, 36% of Indian companies and 25% among MNCs are not compliant with the act.