On 12th February, Ms Prajkata Neelkanth and Ms Pratishtha Arora from CSR conducted training for 13 employees of the Mumbai chapter of the Institute of Cost Accountants India. The training was conducted in two parts: the first half of the training focused on gender sensitization and the second half of the training focused on the Sexual Harassment at Workplace legislation. The training commenced with an introductory note by Ms Pratishtha about the organization. She explained how gender is interlinked with the newly implemented legislation SHWP and how important it is to address these issues. Coming forth, she also referred to CSR’s experience at ICAI, Delhi and talked about how CSR joined hands with ICAI to combat the issue of SHWP.
Ms Prajakta Neelkanth began the session by narrating a story from Panchantra. She emphasized upon the significance of perception and how perceptions mould our thought process with time. This led to an interactive discussion with the participants, followed by an ice-breaking exercise, which brought a conceptual clarity on the difference between gender and sex. This led to an interactive discussion with the help of case studies and some examples.
The next session focused upon gender stereotyping, its formation and institutionalization. In this session the trainer touched upon the various stereotypes in our society and how discrimination begins from home. This was supported by a video clip (Boys Don’t Cry) to broaden the view of participants, and to bring clarification in their understanding on gender stereotypes which are very much prominent in our society. After screening of the video, the trainer flagged a question to participants- What was the common thing observed in the video? The common response was ‘boys don’t cry’ and this was followed by a discussion linking stereotypes with various institutions existing in our society.
In continuation, an activity was conducted named Institutionalization. In this activity, the larger group was divided in 4 – 5 sub groups and each group was assigned with one institution each namely – family, media, education and workplace. Each group had to pen down 5-7 points from each institution and discuss with the larger group. In the next session, Ms Prajakta Neelkanth concentrated upon the very eminent concepts of power, power relations, patriarchy and patriarchal structure in the society. This was taken forward with support of an activity “power flower” in which the participants had to share their understanding on the term “power” with special focus on gender issues. Few of the common responses were: money, head of the family – father, political, law, knowledge, teacher, boss and so on. Further, Ms Prajkata discussed and molded the discussion towards violence committed due to power and patriarchal structure in society. A brief discussion was held on various crimes against women with special emphasis on trafficking and domestic violence. This was narrowed down to a specific form of violence/ offence i.e. Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace.
Ms Prajakta Neelkanth commenced by sharing the history of the act- the incident of Bhawari Devi, and gave a brief about Vishakha guidelines. In continuation, she introduced the next topic of the training and explained each term of the title of the act. Following this, a small activity was conducted in which statements sheet was given and some issues were discussed in detail- what is sexual harassment, what is social discrimination, some grey areas in gender issues and issues related to sexual harassment.
She then focused upon the basic concepts and definitions of the act like: employee, employer, workplace, aggrieved women, sexual harassment, district officer, presiding officer etc. Further she explained the various types of Sexual Harassment with support of examples. Following this she also shared details on Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Local Complaints Committee (LCC), how it is constituted and how it functions.
The session was very interactive as participants were curious to know about the various provisions related to definitions of harassment, workplace, employee etc. as well as about formation and working of ICC, and roles and responsibilities of employer. Many questions were asked about hypothetical situations within and outside the organization. After the discussion, each group was given a case study and was asked to visualize and explain the responsibilities of ICC in each context.
After that an activity named “Tanagram” was conducted by Ms Pratishtha Arora. The activity underlined the importance of good communication. In the end, the trainer concluded by sharing the importance of SHWP and how the employees of the organization prevent it.
Overall it was a very interesting and interactive session. All the 13 employees rated the training positively in their feedback forms. They also gave excellent feedback on the quality of instruction during the workshop.
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