On 19th December, 2019, MFF conducted a one-day orientation program on building safe spaces and creating awareness on sexual harassment of women at workplace with 38 staff members of State Health Resource Centre (SHRC), Chhattisgarh.
The SHRC is a unique state-civil initiative which is designed as an “Additional Technical Capacity to the Department of Health and Family Welfare”, Government of Chhattisgarh State. Its main role is to provide support to the government in the process of Health Sector Reforms in terms of policy planning, strategic thinking, capacity building, development of innovative and adaptive programme designs, community based health programmes, health system research, assisting the department to develop new strategies.
SHRC being the employer of 70000 mitanins who work in villages to provide medical support, needs to develop conducive and safe workplaces, reconstruct positive personal attitude of program people, relook the definition of workplace through keeping in consideration the employees who work at field offices and furnish a supportive redressal mechanism in case of harassment.
In order to attain these prerequisites, the session was commenced by first discussing the definition of workplace and how it changes vastly by considering the areas covered as a part of employees’ work responsibilities and how they can transform them into safe spaces. The session then moved onto establishing understanding about sexual harassment and the types in which it can happen. We discussed how a certain type of behaviour, language and action considered normal can be a type of harassment to an individual. Therefore, this training session became a medium for understanding different forms of sexual behaviours, their impact and how one can seek redressal in the case of harassment.
The session helped SHRC employees to understand the SHW Act through the eyes of mitanins. It defined the full definition of workplace and how it extends to every village in which an employee travels and goes for work. A better and all-inclusive redressal mechanism was proposed keeping field workers in mind.
"The workshop helped in creating awareness on sexual harassment of women at workplace. Our aim was especially sensitizing employees those are in supervisory role, so that they can understand unacceptable and inappropriate behaviors leads to sexual harassment of women at workplace. The session was very participatory and examples as well as case studies/group exercises enabled employees to think about their rights and obligations under this Act. Men and women employees also understood about their role in creating conducive environment i.e free from sexual harassment for female employees in the organization."
- Ms. Neelam Toppo, Program Officer.