Safeguarding Women from Sexual Harassment
It is important to create a safe environment where staff working for an organization feels equipped having the necessary information, staff role and responsibilities in creating this environment, prevention from sexual harassment and abuse and the mechanisms for reporting and responding to complaints, so that they may focus on their work. There is a law in Pakistan, ‘Protection against Harassment of women at the workplace Act 2010’, which provides a mechanism for organizations to institutionalize for dealing with the issue of sexual harassment. Effective implementation of this law helps create a safe and harassment free environment, which is imperative for better efficiency of the workers within organizations and institutions. In this regard, WISE have been in the forefront, not only in lobbying and advocacy for this law but also in its nationwide implementation. The contribution of these two organizations and their leadership is well acknowledged for this work.
WISE is actively engaged for the promotion and compliance of the law against sexual harassment at work place. In collaboration with the Govt. of Punjab, Women Development Department (WDD) and the Office of the Ombudsperson Punjab, WISE undertook awareness campaign (Harassment Awareness Volunteer Program) on implementation of anti-harassment law in 36 districts of Punjab province. The main objective of this campaign was to aware workingwomen and men about the law and asks institutions including govt. as well as private entities to implement the law in their institutions. Under this campaign, WISE has provided orientation to the management of various institutions; including Banks, Hospitals, universities, and factories and facilitated them in institutionalizing the mechanism for compliance of the law at the work places.
WISE has facilitated more than 500 public and private sector organizations to get the law implemented to make their workplaces dignified. During the period, WISE has covered 18 districts of Punjab out of 36 and created awareness on the issue of working women’s rights at workplace and the related law among more than 10,000 people; Conducted orientation sessions for the effective compliance of the Anti-Harassment law with management and staff in work units of NGOs, Govt. departments, banks, hospitals, factories, colleges/universities in different districts of Punjab.
- Provided orientation to over 34,471 individuals, working women, employees, employers, students
- Facilitated over 630 organizations to comply with the law including; Govt. Departments, Non-Government Organizations, Factories, Trade Unions, Colleges & Universities, Banks, Hospitals,
- 323 Volunteers (men/women) were imparted training
- 23 Victims of sexual harassment were provided with physic-social counseling
- 26 Districts: Layya, Muzaffargarh, Okara, Sahiwal, Multan, Vehari, Rajanpur, DG Khan, Lahore, Kasur, Nankana Sahib, Sheikhupura, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Bahawalpur, Bahawal Nagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Narowal, Umerkot, Mithi, Badin, Hyderabad, Karachi, Multan and Islamabad.
Beyond HAVP program, WISE have been providing orientation to the managements of various institutions to establish mechanism for total compliance of the law at the work place. In this regard, it extended services to Pakistan Cricket Board to provide training to their staff, coaches, and young women cricketers to make them aware of the law and code of conduct. Similarly, FC College University, Lahore and Mayfair Group of Industries hired WISE training services for its inquiry committee members, academic and administrative staff.
Some of the female victims of harassment were also provided counselling and legal support. Also developed IEC material for large-scale of awareness on the issue. For the large-scale awareness social, electronic and print media was widely used during this period.
In recognition to its extensive work on the issue of sexual harassment, WISE was acknowledged as one of the best institutions by Mehargarh and granted prestigious award on the occasion of Working Women Day on 22nd of December 2014.