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Making Workplaces Safe for All Women

“One of the most pervasive ways of subjugation, intimidation and discrimination against women in the workplace is sexual harassment” -- Dr. Martha Farrell (1959-2015)

It was Dr Martha Farrell who pioneered PRIA’s work on Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace. Martha’s crusade for gender mainstreaming in organisations began in 1998 when the Vishakha Guidelines for the prevention of sexual harassment at workplaces were formulated by the Supreme Court of India. She ensured that PRIA developed a mechanism towards this end—a Board-mandated Committee on Gender Awareness and Mainstreaming in PRIA (CGAMP) was established. It was through her sustained efforts that the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ in this regard was enforced in all workshops, meetings and offices of PRIA and its close partners.

In the 18 years since the Supreme Court of India passed the Vishakha Guidelines and 2 years since the law on Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace came into effect, PRIA has trained more than 20,000 individuals and supported a dynamic group of organisations (corporate, government, academic and development) to meet compliance standards as mandated by the law.

An assessment of 130 organisations from the corporate sector found 31% not complying with the Act. In an informal safety audit of Delhi University, 39% of the students reported that they had faced sexual harassment on campus quite often or often. In a participatory safety audit conducted by PRIA in 22 educational institutions (20 schools and 2 universities) in Sonepat, Haryana, 90% of the girls reported having faced sexual harassment within their institutions.

This situation on the ground for women who enter the workforce means we need to continue our efforts to raise awareness on the issue and make workplaces safer for all women by:

1. Working with organisations to comply with the law by:
• Framing a comprehensive anti-sexual harassment policy for organisations
• Helping them constitute internal complaints committee in the organisation
• Building capacities of all levels of employees on the issue through face to face trainings and online short training modules
• Appointing PRIA as Third Party Representation on their internal complaints committee
• Developing informative guidebooks, manuals, posters and other IEC materials.
• Advising and guiding senior management and internal complaints committee on legal and practical aspects of dealing with the issue in their organisation

2. Ensuring effective functioning of complaints committees: We prepare individuals to become external members and perform their roles effectively as third party facilitators in internal and local complaints committee through an intensive training and coaching programme.

3. Offering fellowships to interested practitioners and social work students to undertake action-oriented research on the topic, get advanced certification and join a pool of trainers.

In collaboration with Martha Farrell Foundation




  • PRIA facilitators listen, engage and explain at the level where participants understand and learn through many practical exercises. The best workshop on gender that our employees have attended

    Tsering Youdon
    Program Officer, Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief
    SOIR-IM, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
  • Elected members & officials from Northern Province, Sri Lanka visited PRIA to learn about their exemplary work in developing citizen participation in governance and service delivery. JGU thanks PRIA.

    Prof. R. Sudarshan
    Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy
    O.P. Jindal Global University
  • Undeniably good work done by PRIA. My visits to the communities they work with let me hear grassroots voices and stories...deeply rewarding for my personal growth, work and future research

    Loreen Regnander
    Intern, University of Victoria, Canada
  • PRIA has helped to build a large movement for citizens to use Panchayati Raj Institutions at the local level, to use their leadership, their voice, to bring about democracy from below

    Dr John Gaventa, Director of Research
    Institute of Development Studies
    Sussex, UK
  • Thank you PRIA -- for helping me gain the confidence to speak up. Today, I do not hesitate to speak with the sarpanch.

    Renu Joshi
    ASHA worker
    Hinglaz gali Anganwadi Centre, Siwana Block, Barmer, Rajasthan
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of being able to enroll myself in the course…this program has opened my eyes to possibilities for my life which were previously unconsidered

    Tripti Vinita Pal, Alumnus
    Appreciation course
  • I am a third party facilitator for three large institutions but I did not know half the things we have discussed in the Third Party Facilitator Training I attended organized by PRIA

    Joint Secretary of Lakshmi, an NGO
  • Participatory Approaches for Social Inclusion course was undoubtedly beneficial for my research work, providing a deep understanding of theoretical aspects and the applied side of participation

    Pallavi Mishra
    PhD Research Scholar
    Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • We learnt multi-stakeholder dialogue as a tool for advocacy from PRIA…it is a wonderful tool for organising people

    Ashok Kadam
  • I am an example of the Kishori Panchayat Programme which gave young girls the desire to do something, a reason to embrace life

    Kishori Panchayat Member