Every workplace must be safe; and it must provide a congenial atmosphere in which both women and men can work. When men disrupt this safety and comfort, more so when these men hold power over their women colleagues, the women must have redressal. The workplace—the company or institution—must take action through mechanisms that are fair, timely, sensitive and supportive. The law tell us this; so do the deepest values we hold. In view of the recent #MeToo campaign, Newsclick and its associates reaffirm this in no uncertain terms.
Members of media organisations and the entertainment industry have been specifically named as harassers in the most recent revelations. We have no doubt that similar revelations can be made about corporates, academic institutions, banks, government offices and many more. The point is that women of all ages and levels of experience, and in all kinds of workplaces, have been harassed, molested, or made to bear the discomfort of remarks with sexual innuendo for far too long. For far too long, their complaints have been met with denials and stonewalling
Women’s movements in India and other countries have worked over the years to increase awareness of such a situation, along with their work on other issues related to gender. The new campaign of #MeToo has built on the work of earlier generations of activists, and articulated their protest in language and fora that they can relate to. We salute these women without reservation.
Like all campaigns and movements, there will be, and should be, discussion and debate. This should not undermine the women who have come forward; nor need they divide generations, or women’s movements. All those who believe firmly in the equality of women, indeed, in the equality of all citizens to live, work and lead their lives safely will hold fast to this guiding principle in the days to come.
Newsclick Editorial Collective