Bangalore 12 March 2015, Thursday:
Safety of women at the work place, in the course of work and in transportation continues to challenge companies as more and more women enter the work force. This problem will continue to grow unless proactive and purposive steps are taken by companies, industry associations, police, judiciary and citizens to secure the safety of women. Some sectors are more advanced in this journey as compared to other sectors. So also, some companies have progressed significantly as compared to others.
A dipstick poll conducted by B.PAC amongst invitees with about 900 respondents, it was noticed that while employees were generally aware of the existence of the POSH ACT, they were not aware of the provisions of the ACT and how this could be used in prevention and redressal of untoward incidents. This pointed to the fact that organizations needed to focus sharply on processes that would aid prevention and redressal
Under its B.SAFE initiative, B.PAC hosted a first of its kind conclave in the country to bring to the forefront the several issues concerning women’s safety involving multiple stakeholders. B.PAC curated and launched a unique dialogue “The Billion Eyes Conclave” that brought together multiple stakeholders under one platform – leading industry associations and organisations such as NHRD, FICCI, NASSCOM, IACC,CII, FM Zone , EMERG, COWE, WeCONNECT etc. experts such as counsellors, lawyers and other subject matter experts, NGO’s and others to address the issue of prevention and speedy redressal of sexual harassment at work places, in the course of work and during travel.
B.PAC’s objective in launching the Billion Eyes Conclave:
- To be a catalyst in heightening the awareness and understanding about the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, sharing learnings , issues , challenges and best practices , through industry bodies, associations, organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders , through platforms such as today.
- To be an advocacy group to drive collective action for a Safer Bangalore.
- This is not an event. This is the launch of a sustained campaign for a Safe workplace in Bangalore City.
B.PAC through the above mentioned stakeholders hopes to calibrate the success and effectiveness of its Agenda over time through three simple metrics that measure levels of awareness and understanding of the law amongst employees , ICC compliance rates, and employee perception for a safer work place in its multiple dimensions including night shifts, company and public transport systems, etc. This would go a long way in building Bangalore as a safe city for Women at the work place.
At this conclave, a wide range of aspects across different industry sectors that employ a large number of women, namely, health care, retail, media , manufacturing, IT & BPO were discussed and views, best practices and unique industry approaches were shared by the expert panels.
The conclave was successful in sensitizing and highlighting the various challenges regarding safety of women at workplaces by a galaxy of 25 speakers to more than 400 participants spread across industry associations, and groups working towards women safety.
The Conclave saw a conversation of top CEO’s of the city moderated by T.V.Mohandas Pai, Vice president B.PAC talk on the pressing need to make workspaces more accountable for safety of its women employees. Speaking during the conclave, Mr M.N. Reddi, Commissioner of Police, Bangalore city assured the attendees full cooperation of his Department for smoother implementation of the aforesaid law.
A panel comprising of various industry veterans, legal, Media and other subject matter experts analysed the current frame work of policies and solutions of sexual harassment of Women and shared interesting solutions for the way forward.
A panel moderated by Sharad Sharma, Co-Founder iSPRIT was solely dedicated to understand how technology solutions can be leveraged to create safer workspaces and to aid prevention, assist in investigation and evidence and speedy redressal of such crimes. The speakers shared with the audience their learnings, challenges and best practices through The Billion Eyes Conclave.
Mr. Pradeep Bhargava, Director, Cummins India Ltd & Co-Founder of SEMAA from Pune shared their experience in Prioritizing the safety and security of women @ work place in the city of Pune.
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, President B.PAC stressed upon the pressing need for a cultural change in addressing this problem and spoke eloquently on the need for respect for women to start at home. She urged everyone to become a part of the solution and emphasized the importance for all industry bodies and associations to work together in creating safe workplaces for women.
Speaking during the event, Revathy Ashok, CEO, B.PAC said, “This conclave is just the beginning of a movement to build a safer Bengaluru with commitment to a set of metrics that will help us measure our progress in this journey to safety”.
A role play of an office scenario was performed stressing the importance of personal boundaries & behaviour was done by Team Durga – A social movement empowering women and girls addressing sexual harassment.
Chitra Talwar, Convenor B.SAFE said, “Our goal is to catalyze the safety movement across industry sectors and make Bengaluru one of the safest places to work in the country “.
All the partners of The Billion eye Conclave pledged their support and solidarity to this cause and promised to work towards an outcome driven policy in their respective organisations and associations. Be an advocacy group to drive collective action for a Safer Bangalore.