Women in India Still Lack Awareness of POSH Act at Workspaces

Women in India Still Lack Awareness of POSH Act at Workspaces

By: WE Staff

The POSH Act is crucial for women to assert their rights and thrive in the professional landscape, ensuring a safe environment free from workplace harassment and insecurity.

In the rapidly changing professional landscape in today's current workspace, women have achieved immense success in the workforce by shattering stereotypes and succeeding in a variety of fields. Despite these achievements, a concerning issue still exists that is a large number of working women are pursuing their careers without being aware of the security measures provided by the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act.

Even with the progress made toward gender equality, many women still experience workplace insecurities, especially when it comes to sexual harassment. Lack of knowledge about the POSH Act increases this persistent problem. Working women must be aware of their rights and prepared to assert them as the professional landscape changes. The POSH Act is an effective barrier against workplace harassment.

Reports about Lack of POSH Act at Workspaces:

The POSH Act, aimed at protecting female employees from sexual harassment, faces a gap in awareness among working women, leading to a lack of understanding about their rights. As stated by the Walchand Plus report, around 40 per cent of women are unaware of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act's protective measures. The report underscores the need for a transformative approach to ensure workplace safety, emphasizing the importance of addressing these gaps. The report says that only 42 per cent of employees had a complete knowledge about the POSH Act.

The research indicates that employees do not possess a thorough understanding of the Act's provisions, which emphasizes the need for improved education on the matter. The report highlights common misconceptions within organizations regarding compliance with the Act, which is often seen as a mere checkbox rather than a genuine commitment to a safe environment for women.

According to a survey, 53% of HR professionals are unsure about the Act. The study also revealed that HR managers are not sure about their senior management's ability to reduce harassment issues and women's underrepresentation.

"As a woman, I believe that gender inequality in India still needs to be addressed in a big way. We still live in a patriarchal society in many respects. The protection of women in the workplace ought to be a fundamental expectation, but sadly, many organizations only give this superficial attention, according to a statement from Pallavi Jha, the chairperson and managing director of Walchand PeopleFirst.

The research highlights limitations in implementing the POSH Act, including the lack of senior women representation in Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs). It calls for training sessions, a proactive response, workshops, guidance, and a zero-tolerance policy against harassment, emphasizing the importance of these measures.

Another significant report by Deloitte's Women @Work, based on 5,000 women across 10 countries, highlights the significant challenges women face in the workplace, including burnout, non-inclusive behaviors, and hybrid working, emphasizing the need for organizations to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment.

According to the study, 40 per cent of working women who feel unsafe at work are not aware of the safeguards provided by the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act. When it comes to household chores like cleaning or taking care of dependents, nearly half of the women admit that they are primarily responsible for the duties. One of the top three reasons women left their jobs in the previous year was a lack of flexibility with their work schedules. 37 per cent of women who work in hybrid arrangements said that they are excluded from the decisions, meetings, and casual conversations. Over the previous year, 44 per cent of respondents said they had experienced harassment or small-scale attacks at work.

What is the POSH Act?

The Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act is a legislative framework designed to address and prevent cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. The main goal of the POSH Act is to provide a workplace that is safe, secure, and free from sexual harassment for workers.

The act specifies a number of actions that employers must take, such as establishing Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) within their establishments, to address and prevent sexual harassment. The ICCs are in charge of handling sexual harassment complaints, carrying out investigations, and making sure that preventive measures are put in place.