New Delhi: A massive cultural sensitivity
programme aimed at changing heart and psyche of people is
needed to bring down the increasing number of sexual
harassment cases against women, according to experts.
It`s difficult to define sexual harassment but a
woman always knows when she is being subjected to it, they
"We need social awareness and activity to ensure men
and women are treated equal and women are not seen as filth of
the business by men," says former minister of Women and Child
Development, Renuka Chaudhary.
Chaudury was participating in a panel discussion on
sexual offences against women here recently organised by a TV
"We have a lot of laws but they do not address the
root cause of the problem. What is needed is pro-active work
and education for young men to teach them to respect women,"
says veteran journalist and author Madhu Trehan.
"It`s unfortunate that we educate people not to murder
but do not teach them to respect women. The advertisements
promote inferior status of women compared to men," she adds.
Research released recently shows that every fifth
woman worker is sexually harassed in India. Also drafted in
the year 2007 by the National Commission for Women (NCW), the
path-breaking "Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment
at Workplace Bill," still remains in consultation stages.
Joint Secretary of NCW, Sundari Subrimaniam Pujari
opines that laws change as per the dynamism of the society.
"We need more sensitisation and good execution of laws
and we need to make our children aware and give them good
teachings," she points out.
Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research
observes that sexual harassment is not only prevalent in
educated circles but a poor woman working at a construction
site is also subjected to it by the contractor.
"She has no knowledge whom to complain to. We need
awareness for that. Parents should give voice and confidence
to their daughters while bringing them up, so that a girl has
guts to come out against sexual offenders," she says.
Senior advocate Aryama Sundaram favoured presence of
tough laws along with education to deter criminals.
"Education is more today than it was 40 years ago,
but, harassment is also more than it was 40 years ago in the
society. We need teeth in form of laws so that there is a
deterrent," he said.