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Walchand Plus Report Highlights Critical Gaps in Workplace Safety for Women and POSH Act Implementation

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Mumbai: In a pivotal assessment of the corporate sector’s implementation of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Act, Walchand Plus, (part of Walchand PeopleFirst ltd., which also owns the Dale Carnegie business in India), an industry leader in workplace solutions, in collaboration with research partner BDB India, exposes critical deficiencies hindering the creation of a secure workspace for women. This comprehensive study, conducted in November 2023, emphasizes the urgent need for a transformative approach to ensure workplace safety.

An alarming revelation surfaces from the study: a staggering 40% of working women experiencing insecurity are unaware of the protective measures offered by the POSH Act. This lack of awareness among employees, as highlighted by the research, underscores the imperative for enhanced education on the Act’s provisions. Shockingly, only 42% of employees possess a thorough understanding of the POSH Act.

The report also exposes prevalent misconceptions within organizations, where compliance with the Act is often seen as a mere checkbox rather than a genuine commitment to fostering a safe environment for women. Surveys indicate that 53% of HR professionals are confused about the Act. Furthermore, the research found that HR managers are concerned about the underrepresentation of women and the tendency to downplay harassment issues within senior management.

Commenting on the report Pallavi Jha, Chairperson and Managing Director of Walchand PeopleFirst says, “As a woman, I feel India still has a long way to go when it comes to bridging the gender disparity. In many ways, we’re still a patriarchal society and at Walchand Plus we are committed to driving positive change and fostering a culture of safety, inclusivity, and respect in workplaces across India. The first step towards that is understanding the issue with recent data, which we have tried to do with this research paper. Protecting women at the workplace should be a basic expectation but unfortunately many organizations treat this at a very cosmetic level. Walchand Plus believes that by adopting safety measures, organizations can contribute to a significant shift in workplace dynamics, ensuring the well-being and safety of every employee.”

The research reveals that owing to constraints such as a lack of senior women representation in Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs), among many others, has led much to be desired when it comes to implementation and adherence of the POSH Act. The study underscores the crucial role of training sessions that go beyond legal literacy, addressing procedural aspects and fostering a preventive culture.

Walchand Plus urges a proactive response from organizations, advocating for immediate measures to address the gaps identified in the study’s findings. With expertise in consulting and training for POSH, Walchand Plus emphasizes the importance of workshops, guidance, and a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment. This report, available to download on www.walchandpeoplefirst.com, stands as a critical call to action, demanding a comprehensive shift in mindset and approach to establish a culture of safety, respect, and inclusivity in workplaces for women across India.

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