News: Welcoming the ‘SHe-Box’ – A step towards a new dawn

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Welcoming the ‘SHe-Box’ – A step towards a new dawn

A safe workplace is every woman's right
Welcoming the ‘SHe-Box’ – A step towards a new dawn

Sexual harassment electronic box (SHe-Box), an online complaint management system has been recently launched by Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace. This complaint management system has been developed to ensure the effective implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013. Currently, She-Box has been extended to employees of Central Government. However, this new initiative will soon be extended to women employees of private sector too.

A step towards the goal of enhancing gender equality and women empowerment in India compounded with Digital India movement, this new-age initiative ensures that dignity and safety of women must be the first priority of any digital society. 

Let us look at what all will SHe-Box bring to us:

Improved awareness of the law and procedures related to it 

Sexual harassment of women at workplace

This online portal consists of a resource section that comprises of all laws and regulations under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013. Notifications, guidelines, rules, processes, and procedures related to the act are provided in the portal for ease of reference. There is a FAQ section for all stakeholders to seek more clarity on SHe-Box or E-filing of Complaints related to Sexual Harassment at Workplace.

It also has Training modules and a handbook for providing key practical insights on the provisions of the act. Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) has identified a pool of 29 resource institutions willing to provide capacity building programs on the Act. The lists of these institutions are available on this online platform.

Transparency and Agility

One of the objectives of this portal is to provide a speedier remedy to women facing sexual harassment in the workplace. Such online process will make the entire redressal procedure smooth and faster. Once a complaint is submitted to the portal, it will be directly sent to the ICC of the concerned Ministry/Department/PSU/Autonomous Body etc. having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaint. 

Also, a lot of women are not comfortable to come forward and complain against a colleague or senior member at her workplace. There’s an element of fear and social pressure which often stops them from taking this step. With the advent of SHe-box, this problem too will be taken care of. Not only this, the level of transparency will increase by using She-Box. Now the complainant, as well as Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) both, can monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICC.

Way ahead

The pronouncement to host such an online platform was taken up by the WCD ministry last October after the minister received complaints from women employees in various ministries. The challenge was to make the system more efficient, transparent and timely. Though the first step has already been taken up, however there’s an ongoing plan to refine it further and make it as interactive as possible in the coming months.  

The government also plans to conduct a National level survey to assess and understand the magnitude of the problem. “We are also going to soon conduct a national survey to assess the nature and magnitude of sexual harassment at the workplace,” Union minister Maneka Gandhi said after launching the portal at her office.

Currently, there is no centralized mechanism to collect data on how many complaints have been registered and disposed off under the Act. According to an FICCI-EY November 2015 report, 36% of Indian companies and 25% among MNCs are not compliant with the act. With this intervention, looks like such problems are bound to solve, provided we are on the right track. 

A better thoughtful initiative like this, if implemented and monitored effectively have huge potential to create a better India. We look forward to many more such new-age efficient measures to be taken up by our government as a step towards a new dawn. 

You can access the SHe-Box portal by clicking on this link.

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Topics: Culture, Diversity, Employee Relations

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