#MeToo Revolution Takes A New Turn As Women Workers In Unorganized Sectors Now Raise Their Voice
The #MeToo movement which has been going on in the social media for the past few months has now reached the women who do not have access to online platforms because of which their incidents have not surfaced anywhere. The movement has found its way to the women working in unorganised sectors including domestic helpers, workers in the garment factory, vendors on the streets and bus conductors among many others. Multiple unions and organisations run by women are helping the workers to come forward and share their opinions and stories to generate awareness. One of the events in relation to it took place on November 3, Saturday in Kannada Bhavan on JC Road, Karnataka.
The women working in unorganised sectors are prone to be the victims of sexual harassment and poor work conditions. As reported by The New Indian Express, coming out in the open is very risky for them because of the need for wages, social media is not very popular among them hence they are left with no choice but to continue being the victim and suffer. The lack of any platform to share their problems except unions in some cases makes it a perilous task, chances of getting sacked are very high. The organisers of this event said that BBMP and BMTC have Internal Complaints Committees(ICCs), but these committees are not known by most workers. It becomes very important in times like these when harassment cases are on the rise, be it because of class, caste or gender.
The event was reportedly organised by All India Progressive Women’s Association and the unions of the different working sectors. The main motive of the event was to provide an opportunity to all women workers to share their experience and discuss the changes that are needed. One of the union leaders said that most women providing domestic help are on the receiving end of abuse almost every day but fail to report the incident to the concerned authorities for the fear of losing their job, so instead they get accustomed to suffering and pain.
The secretary of Stree Jagruti Samiti, Geeta Menon said that many factors contribute towards the poor conditions of women who work in unorganised sectors. Lack of laws and undefined work environment being the top reasons why the women decide not to elevate the case and go to authorities, she continued saying that many changes are needed, like ‘ad-hoc committees’ to be set up by the RWA of that particular area. Committees like these should be made compulsory so the victims know who should be approached in such cases.
As reported by Deccan Herald, the gathering included unions of garment and textile workers, Stree Jagruti Samiti, BBMP, KSRTC, BMTC, NEKRTC, NWKRTC and representatives from transgender communities.
The All India Progressive Women’s Association(AIPWA) has decided to make a report based on the meeting that happened last week which will be submitted to the Department of Women and Child Development, the Internal Complaints Committees of the BBMP and BMTC, as well as Karnataka State Commission for Women. Further action will be taken based on the findings of the report.
Maitreyi Krishnan, a lawyer working for the rights of pourakarmikas, said that The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 needs to be the priority of government right now. Its implementation will play a key role in addressing the conditions of the victims.
The Logical Indian Take
Since the launch of #MeToo movement, the number of women who have come out in the open and challenged the status quo has been remarkable. It started as a much-needed revolution and has positively affected the lives of numerous victims and survivors alike. Harassment in any form is a punishable offence and people need to be made aware that justice will be served to all the victims who report the crime. The event organised by AIPWA is another great milestone in the movement as it has touched upon one of the largest and overlooked part of the women community, i.e. the workers of unorganised sectors. It is shocking that this part, which is the most vulnerable and prone to all sorts of harassment was not considered in the headlines up until now. This initiative has brought rays of hope in the lives of countless women who were afraid of doing their jobs daily, and many big changes are expected to be made as a result.