Tuesday, 25 July 2017

SHE-box Portal : An initiative of Empowering Women

"Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression. " 



The Women and Child Development ministry today launched an online platform to enable women employees of the central government to file complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace. Union minister Maneka Gandhi said that first this platform will cater the needs of central government’s women employees and based on its impact and progress, it will be further made widen to cover private sector employees as well.

What is SHE-box?

'SHe-box' (sexual harassment electronic box) is an online complaint management system hosted on the website of the Women and Child Development Ministry. Once a complaint is submitted to the 'SHe-Box', it will be directly sent to the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the ministry/department/PSU/autonomous body etc concerned, to take action on the matter. The portal is also supposed to speed up the process of inquiry and provide a speedier remedy to the women employees.

The expectations from SHE-Box
  • This portal is assumed to ensure the proper implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.
  • It will also provide a list of follow-up details so that the employee can see the exact status of the complaint.
  • As per the department’s report, the idea of this portal is to remedy the cases before they reach the level where legal action may be warranted.
  • It is also suggested to have a section in the portal so that complainants can "vent" their grievances in detail.
  • This portal is expected to prove a boon for women employees who work in such organization where there is no committee made for taking action on their complaints.
  • This will also make women employees feel more vocal and bold in terms of reporting sexual harassment cases happening around them.
  • The portal will also make women aware about the nature of harassment and definition of what constitutes a case of sexual harassment.
  • Union minister Maneka Gandhi instructed officials to make the portal as "interactive" as possible.
How to file a complaint through SHe-Box?
  • One should have a valid email id and mobile number for filing a complaint. Then, open SHe-Box portal.
  • On the first page of portal comes “Register Your Complaint “option. Clicking on that opens a new page for registering the complaint.
  • Few things are required there. For example; a mobile number, Aadhar number, Ministry/department where one works and against whom one wants to put up the complaint.
  • One can name more than one person a single complaint as the accused box accepts comma separated names.
  • As of now only government's women employees can fill a case there. 
My take

Sexual harassment is widespread. Up to half of working women report experiencing sexual harassment at some point in their careers. Surprisingly, it's widespread occurrence and serious consequences, formal reporting of workplace harassment is very rare. There are myriad of reasons why women employees don’t come forward (much) and report such crime at work places. Victim blaming, further harassment and career fear are on top of the list. Another sorry factor is women often do not know what type of acts qualify as sexual harassment and fail to report them. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 that came into effect recently depicts the rules for dealing with cases of sexual harassment at the workplace. Sadly many of the working women don’t know what this law is and how this can help them.

The Union government has 30.87 lakh employees and on an average, women constitute 12 % of the total force. With this move, The Women and Child Development ministry is trying to give an easy access to reporting system to government women employees, without any need to take help from mediators. I am taking this as a silver lining in the dark clouds of harassment at offices. I am also hoping that this initiative will be proved beneficent for central government’s women employees and will be then get implemented for the private sector as well. I so welcome this move. Empowering women, empowers the nation!!



No comments:

Post a Comment