International Women's Day: Sexual harassment policies in global companies leave much to be desired

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 08, 2021, 01.19 PM(IST)

More than three years after the massive social media-led #MeToo movement on sexual misconduct, which started in Hollywood and swept all walks of life across the world, much remains to be done in addressing the problem. Are women's complaints of sexual harrassment at workplace being addressed?

Story highlights

Despite the #MeToo campaign that began in October, 2017 that sparked a wider debate around harassment, pay and representation, 51% of companies assessed for the index did not publish an anti-sexual harassment policy last year, said Equileap. However, this is an improvement on 58% recorded in 2019.

More than three years after the massive social media-led #MeToo movement on sexual misconduct, which started in Hollywood and swept all walks of life across the world, much remains to be done in addressing the problem.

Are women's complaints of sexual harassment at workplace being addressed?

An index created by Equileap, a women's workplace equality organisation, showed that most big firms are failing to address sexual harassment at work.

Despite the #MeToo campaign that began in October, 2017 that sparked a wider debate around harassment, pay and representation, 51% of companies assessed for the index did not publish an anti-sexual harassment policy last year, said Equileap. However, this is an improvement on 58% recorded in 2019.

The data was drawn from 3,702 firms in 23 countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Britain and Australia.


Workplace harassment has been one of the reasons that keeps women from achieving their careers.

According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency in the US, 60% women in the country reported sexual harassment.

Data from Hong Kong City University found 80% of women in China having reported harrasent at some stage of their career.

The situation in India

A ComplyKaro Services analysis of annual reports from BSE 100 companies revealed a 14% rise in sexual harassment complaints in financial year 2019-20 alone.

In India, 95 per cent of women working in the informal sector finds it difficult to access legal mechanisms to report sexual harassment at the workplace.

And because the #MeToo was a social-media led movement, it had little effect in remote and rural areas of the country.

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