Nannies, cooks, construction workers, farmhands and other women who are primarily employed in India’s informal jobs sector are still routinely sexually harassed and abused at work because a groundbreaking federal law is rarely enforced, a study has found.
Ninety-five percent of India’s female workers, some 195 million people, are employed in so-called informal jobs, according to Human Rights Watch, which found that the country’s federal and local governments have not done enough to promote and carry out the functions of the country’s 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act.
The law, known as the Posh Act, mandates that employers with 10 or more workers set up committees to receive and investigate complaints of sexual harassment.
While the global #MeToo movement inspired a host of Bollywood actors and well-known Indian writers to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, poorer Indian women are less likely to speak out.
Mina Jadav, a trade union leader who represents women in the informal sector in the western Indian state of Gujarat, said sexual harassment, including slurs and physical violence, were commonplace.
“On many occasions, women will not complain. If the victim is a young girl, then more chances that she will not speak. Families try to hide the incidents,” Ms. Jadav said.
Under the Posh Act, complaint committees must be led by a
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