Women’s Day

 

A Report on

Mass Meeting on “Workplace harassment; women’s concern and response”

 

Organized by: Sask and FIEUN Women Committee

Chaired By: Om Hari Guragain (President of FIEUN Women Committee)

Chief Guest: Pushpa Bhusal (Central Member Nepali Congress and Senior Advocate)

Special Guest : Kiiri Kaikaenan and Van

Hosted By: Bandana Sharma (FIEUN active member of Women Committee)

Date: 8th March 2017 (International Women’s Day)

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In order to celebrate International Women’s Day, Sask and FIEUN jointly organized a mass meeting at Alpha Beta house, Baneshwor. About 150 women employees from both finance (public and private) and non finance sectors have participated the mass meeting. The issue of the meeting was focused around one of the most eminent topic “Workplace harassment; women’s concern and response”. The program was hosted by Bandana Sharma (member, FIEUN women committee)

The program started with the welcoming remarks of chairperson Om Hari Guragain and Fraternal greetings of brother Ganesh Bdr. K.C (President, FIEUN), sister  Usha Jha (Director, Samjhauta Nepal), Sister Kiira Kaikenan (Special guest, Finland), Van Man (Special guest, Finland) and sister Sudha Dahal (President, NTUC women committee).

There were keynote presentations on two important topics 1. “Women workers rights in Nepal; implementation in workplace” and  2. “Workplace harassment; women’s concern and response”.

On the first keynote presentation “Women workers rights in Nepal; implementation in workplace” Brother Subarna Karmacharya (Director, Human Rights Commission), highlights about Acts and policies that has been implemented in Nepal’s interim constitutions. He also reveals about different clause and sub clauses present on women workplace rights and social security in Nepal’s government. According to brother Subarna, it is more difficult to preserve the rights of women at workplace rather than to create it. He also gave examples of different types of rights that are present to protect women and secure her job at the time of maternity in many developed countries like Denmark and Finland. Lastly, he ended the presentation by giving a good example of a Nepalese housewife, who is enrolled in every household activities but, the social eye towards her is just a jobless women without any work to do.

At the second keynote presentation “Workplace harassment; women’s concern and response” Sister Deepa Bhardawaj (President, UNI NLC Women Committee), demonstrate about different types of harassments, women workers are facing at both private and public sector organizations. As the financial institutions seem to be one of the safer and decent workplace from outside but, according to the survey it has been analyzed that it is not safer from inside. Different harassments are done to the women workers at the name of Performance Appraisal. Therefore, in order to mitigate such harassments, there should be a systematic Performance Appraisal mechanism implemented at workplace. She also emphasized about the recent enacted “sexual harassment policy” in Nepal and how trade union people can help to arrange such issues by organizing a re-addressal  committee at every workplace.

After these two presentations, the floor was opened by brother Shankar Lamichhane (President, UNI NLC) for discussion and providing solutions of the issues aroused from the viewers.  Different issues came up from audiences like “The emotional harassment issues”, “Back biting by male colleagues”, “not giving promotions to the ladies workers for the long period”, ” implementation of retire age for women workers up to 60 years as, women can apply for  government job at the age of 40″.  All such issues were addressed jointly by sister Deepa, brother Suwarna and Sister Sudha.

Brother Manoranjan Pegu, Regional coordinator of SASK also warms up the program by addressing different types of policies for working women in India. And also the formation of CASH (Committee Against Sexual Harassment) at different companies in India and how such committee has mitigated the harassments at workplace. He bring to light that how the policies should be implemented in such a way that a women can feel secure for her job and promotion even after the long maternity leave.

Another important work that was accomplished in this program was distribution of Survey questionnaires to all the women audiences. The survey questionnaire was based on two themes. Firstly, the survey will take the information about working conditions, environment and existing facilities available to women employees of formal sector of Nepal. Secondly, study will validate the Nepalese version of the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised (NAQ-R: Einarsen and Hoel, 2001; Einarsen, et al., 2009) with the aim of establishing the prevalence of workplace harassment. And finally, an attempt is made to study the effect of this type of negative behavior on to the women workers of formal sectors.

At Last, respected Pushpa Bhusal (Senior Advocate, Member of Nepali congress) puts her concluding remarks on all of the above raised issues. She underlines that how positive discrimination can be more fruitful for women workers rather that equal rights because women are indifferently equal to man. Women have their own personal problems of pregnancy, child birth, lactation etc. Therefore, she emphasized on addressing women rights as not only women right but it should be implemented as human rights.

Finally, the program ended up with a wonderful lunch program at the periphery and sharing of greetings.