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Women's Development And Grievance Cell (SHAW)

On 13th August 1997, the Supreme Court of India held that sexual harassment of women is a violation of the fundamental right of women to work in a “Safe environment”. The Supreme court guidelines define sexual harassment to include:

  • Physical contact and advances.
  • Demand or request for sexual favors
  • Sexually colored remarks
  • Display of pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature
  • Violent conduct or treatment or unlawful use of force.

Harassment can take the appearance of banter i.e. teasing, mockery, joking, repartee (wordplay), wit, chitchat, etc. or even take on the shape of unwelcome physical contact. At times, a boss may bring into play sexually tinged language with a colleague; order for a meeting after office hours for a relaxed and peaceful dinner for two, or threaten carrier options by means of sexual harassment. Basically it is any unwelcome word or actions of sexual temperament. For example:

  • Rebuff of payment or official endorsement in the absence of sexual favors.
  • Pornographic pictures/ messages displayed on desks, boards or sent by email
  • Comment made about personal appearance and dress
  • Colored jokes shared in the office that make others feel uncomfortable.

Often such behaviour goes unpunished mostly because of hesitation on the part of women to report such behaviour out of a sense of shame or fear or both. It is important for women to protest against any behaviour that they feel is unwanted and unacceptable. The Women's Development and Grievance Cell at Institute of Science has been set up with the aim of providing women a platform to complain about any unwelcome behaviour.

Following are the members of the committee:
  • Dr. Varsha Andhare (Zoology) Coordinator
  • Dr. Gayatri Barabde (Chemistry)
  • Dr. Sushama Ambadekar (Chemistry)
  • Dr. S. B Kulkarni (Physics) (Senior Gents Member)
  • Smt. Seema Nimse (Office)
  • Smt. Sunita Dhuri (Non Teaching Staff)

The complaints should be lodged in writing with any of the in-house committee members. Complete confidentiality of the matter will be maintained.

What action can be taken against the offender?
After it has been proven that the offender has indulged in sexual harassment in the work place, an appropriate punitive action would be taken against him irrespective of his status in the Institute (staff, faculty, student). Where such conduct amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, a complaint will be made for the appropriate action in accordance with the law.

The Role of the Women's Cell
  • To ensure that appropriate action is taken against the offender
  • To ensure that victims and witnesses are not victimized or discriminated because of their complaint.
  • To take proactive measures towards sensitization of the students and staff members of Institute of Science on gender issues so that Institute is an excellent work place for all.