While women from different walks of life are coming out with their stories of sexual harassment at workplace making the #MeToo Movement impactful, corporate experts believe that men should also join the discussion to keep the movement alive.
At panel discussion ‘#MeToo Conversations’ on Thursday, organized by Firstpost, K Ramkumar, the founder and CEO of Leadership Centre, said: “Keeping men out of discussion will not help the #MeToo Movement in a structured manner. We have to engage men in the conversation instead of saying they are the big beast — it won’t work that way.”
Ramkumar refered to laws such as as POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace) and Vishakha guidelines that offer legal justice to a victim. He called for changing the work culture that discourage women who don’t want to do favours for their male counterpart.
“The culture of joining the ‘guys club’ to get a promotion is a sick culture. The whole practice of calling a woman over for a drink and dinner and taking advantage of her is a part of the sexual harassment,” he said.
“The moment a harassment instance is reported to the HR department, such a predator should be fired. With more such action, we can set an example on how a predator should be treated,” he said.
The discussion was joined by Sonal Mattoo, Deepa Bhatia, Indira Rangarajan, and Gowree Gokhale – all closely working on the corporate law and victims of sexual harassment.
In the last few days, many big names in the entertainment sector have cropped up for their involvement in sexual harassment, and many from reputed companies have been fired based on accusations.
Anirban Blah, on the board of directors of a Bollywood talent management company KWAN, was fired after allegation of sexual harassment. Filmmaker Sajid Khan stepped down from his film ‘Housefull 4’ as a director after four women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Ashish Patil, vice-president of one of the prominent film companies Yash Raj Films, was fired after a female employee complained against him alleging sexual harassment.
At a time when corporates are taking measures to create a safe work environment for women, the question is: Should companies avoid hiring female employees to pre-empt such controversies?
One of the lawyers said, “If you do not hire women because they complain about sexual harassment, you should not hire men because they are sexual perpetrators.”