Hyderabad: Director of Peninsula Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Merri L Hanson from Virginia, US termed She Shuttle, an exclusive bus service for women working in the IT companies ‘very innovative’.
The shuttles, launched for the safety and security for women working in the IT corridor by Cyberabad Police and Society for Cyber Security Council (SCSC), are catering to the needs of more than 35,000 women on a monthly basis.
“She buses are providing transportation to and fro to workplace, and are a service that a woman’s family and workplace can trust. This is very innovative,” Hanson said here on Tuesday.
However, she was not happy about a few other things. According to Hanson, in 2015, the percentage of Indian women in the paid workforce here was 28 per cent. “Now I am told that it has reduced to 18 per cent. Women’s equal participation in all levels of the society is one of the key indicators of good economy. But it is going down in India,” she said.
According to Indian law, the companies must have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) comprising four members including one woman. Though the law mandates having an ICC, several companies do not have one, she said.
“Most companies do not have women in the leadership positions and hence they are not included in the ICC, instead women from outside, mostly from NGOs, are being taken into the committee,” she said.
Hanson said women in the Indian companies were not willing to approach the ICC on sexual harassment issues at the workplaces.
“They do not feel safe to approach the ICC. They do not feel that they will get justice from the committee that has no oversight from anybody outside of the company,” she said.
According to Hanson, the first step to address sexual harassment at workplace was to make the working environment free from any retaliation.
During her visit to India, she held discussions on ‘Creating respectful workplaces for women and constructively addressing sexual harassment at work’. She held a meeting with SCSC besides discussions with college students on the topic.