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Stronger than ever

For most women, successful careers come at a cost. But what needs to be more emphatically argued is the fact that why should women, in literal terms, always have to render ‘favours’ to climb up the success ladder? However, those, who have the courage to rise up and speak out for themselves, taking a strong stance against extremely powerful men in society and their sexual advances, need a fulcrum from where they can bring about a change in the age-old discourse. Interestingly, the game is slowly but steadily getting over for men who use their positions of power to presume that women colleagues exist only so that they can exploit them sexually.

The argument here is not just sexual harassment or violation but more importantly, it is about professional equality, since a woman not giving sexual favours always fears that this could affect her career. Sexual harassment at the workplace has been one of the focal points of the women’s movement in India since the 1980s. And since then, there have been some serious attempts to bring in laws and uphold a woman’s pride and integrity with the Vishakha guidelines being the most prominent one. Gradually, one woman speaking out has given the courage to others to speak out, too. It is important to mention here that after the brutal Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder in 2012, media and society took a strong stance against one of its own, Tarun Tejpal, the next year, and that Justice (Retd.)

AK Ganguly was also not spared, is very significant because these precedents gave enough courage to a woman in climate change scientist RK Pachauri’s office to lodge an FIR against him. It is time to give credit to these women who have refused to blink and stare right back at sexual predators at the workplace. It will serve as a deterrent to those who regard women at work places as nothing but playthings. It is time for us to stand up and acknowledge their grace under fire.


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