78% of those who were sexually harassed at work place did not report it
- • 32% citizens said they or their family member have faced sexual harassment at workplace
- • 69% of those who reported sexual harassment at work, faced it at their workplace
- • Physical contact and advances most common forms of workplace sexual harassment
16th October 2018, New Delhi
The #MeToo movement which initially started in America has gained significant momentum in India in the last fortnight. Many women, primarily from Bollywood and Media industry have come forward about sexual harassment that they faced at their workplaces and many rich and famous have made it to the infamous list.
The subject has been a hot conversation topic on social media as well as in various circles of LocalCircles and many citizens have urged that sexual harassment is also common in workplaces ranging from corporates to Government jobs and from factories all the way to real estate and construction sector and both in urban and rural India.
TTo understand the magnitude of it, LocalCircles conducted a citizen pulse check exercise to understand the nature of sexual harassment people have faced over the years. More than 28,000 votes were polled on these questions from over 15,000 unique citizens, proving that it is a bigger problem than we believe it to be.
Before conducting the polls, sexual harassment was defined so all participants have a common understanding of what constitutes it. The first question asked if sexual harassment is common at workplaces in India and what has been their experience with it. 32% said that they or one of their family members have experienced or observed it at work place. 45% said they have not experienced or observed it at work place, while 23% were unsure.
32% citizens say they or their family members have faced sexual harassment at workplace
78% said that even if they or a family member faced sexual harassment at work place, they did not report it to the HR or the senior leadership. Only 22% said they went ahead and reported it.
78% of sexual harassment at workplace goes unreported
50% said the sexual harassment episode with them took place at work during regular office hours while 19% said it took place during after-hours at the workplace. 31% said it happened during after-hours at social gatherings/private place. So, 69% of those who faced the sexual harassment, the episode took place at their work premises. This clearly outlines that the majority of the sexual harassment does not take place while socialising or partying with co-workers or under the influence of alcohol.
69% of those who experienced sexual harassment related to work, faced it at the workplace
The last question asked what the nature of the sexual harassment was related to workplace faced by them or their family member. 50% said physical contact and advances while 19% said demand or request for sexual favours. 31% said they faced sexually coloured remarks or a display of porn.
Physical contact and advances most common form of sexual harassment at workplace followed by sexually colored remarks
Reporting sexual harassment has never been easy in India due to the obvious reasons. An ex-employee of a big private firm came out a few days back and said that she was fired from her job after she reported sexual advances from one of her seniors to the HR department.
Some of the individuals accused have filed defamation cases against those who have accused them and many are threatening to do so. At the same time, many from the legal fraternity are coming forward to assist those reporting sexual harassment on a pro bono basis. The question remains whether the #MeToo movement will go beyond Bollywood and Media into Corporates, Government jobs, all the way to domestic workers or will it loose momentum as fake reporting and settling scores creeps in. A clear need though, that the above survey identifies is that of ease of confidential reporting, need for awareness and institutional mechanisms where timely enquiry and action can take place against the perpetrators of sexual harassment.
Survey Platform and Demographics
The national survey on sexual harassment at workplace was conducted in online communities on LocalCircles. The objective was to understand if sexual harassment was taking place at workplaces. More than 28,000 votes were polled in the survey from over 15,000 unique participants located across India, making it the largest survey of its kind. Approximately 6100 or 40% of respondents were females while the rest were males. The participants were 40% from Tier 1 cities, 28% from Tier 2 cities and 32% from Tier 3 Cities and Rural areas.
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