Two years of SHe-Box, women still oblivious

City National

Only 192 complaints have been filed in 2019, all over India via the SHe-Box Portal.

By Shivani Verma

Bengaluru: The number of sexual harassment complaints by  women in public/private organizations through SHe-Box (Sexual Harassment electronic-Box) stands at 513. The Ministry of Women and Child Development data states that only 203 cases have been disposed off so far.  

A women employee who works in Indore and wished to maintain anonymity told The Softcopy about her colleague who was harassed by her manager at an unofficial office party.  She said, “My friend tried to file a complaint against him and informed the HR manager about the same, but instead they fired her because she held a lower position in the company. Had she known about SHe-Box, she would have filed the complaint at this portal”

Former Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi launched the ‘SHe-Box portal’ which allows women to make online complaints regarding sexual harassment at the workplace in all government and private organizations. It was launched to ensure the effective implementation ofthe Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (SH Act), 2013.

A press release from the Government of India stated a prompt disposal of complaints on SHe-Box indicating that each case must go directly to the central/ state authority concerned having jurisdiction to take action in the matter.

From November 2017-2018, only 321 complaints have been registered with ‘SHe-Box’ out of which 120 are related to central ministries/departments, 58 are from state governments and 143 are from private companies. Karnataka has only 34 cases registered in the last two years.

Santosh Kumar, Section Head, Ministry of Women and Child Development said, “We have provided all the data of complaints that have been filed by the working women till date in the website of Ministry and Child Development. We are in the process of generating awareness about SHe-Box.”

Rashmi Valecha, who works as a tagging analyst in Nuance Communications, Pune said, “Sexual harassment at the workplace is very usual these days. I have been harassed by one of my colleagues but never knew something like SHe-Box existed.”

State wise sexual harassment complaint by the women employees

Maharashtra has the highest number of cases registered by women who were sexually harassed at the workplace which is 82. There are states and union territories like Daman and Diu, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Goa, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim where zero complaints were registered.

Carol Lucas, a Talent Acquisition Head in the Human Resources (HR) department in a start-up said, “We get direct complaints from our employees. We aren’t following the procedure of SHe-Box as we haven’t been updated about it till now.”

All you need to know about SHe-Box

The Ministry has published a Handbook and Training Module on the SH Act to provide information about the provisions of the Act. Private organizations are encouraged to customize the training module as per their service rules and disciplinary procedures prescribed therein.

Urvi Chauhan, ex-employee who worked in the private sector and lives in Mumbai said, “I have never been harassed at my workplace, though if something like SHe-Box exists then the government should spread more awareness by advertising directly to the target audience (working women). They should also build a trust factor around the initiative”.

Gaana Joshua Nair, gender studies Professor at Christ college said, “We need a lot of awareness when it comes to women safety. Most of the private organizations aren’t even aware of SHe-Box. There’s a long way to go.”