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Why Anand Mahindra is Being Cheered a Year After #MeToo For His Tweet on Sexual Harassment

File photo of Anand Mahindra.

File photo of Anand Mahindra.

Mahindra said that his company has 'zero-tolerance for any form of sexual harassment' and offenders have no place to hide.

  • Last Updated: October 15, 2019, 2:46 PM IST
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After firing a senior employee for discrimination in September last year, businessman Anand Mahindra has now spoken out about sexual harassment, almost a year since the #MeToo wave spread across India. Taking to microblogging site Twitter, the Chairman of the Mahindra Group admitted that despite tough policies, instances of sexual harassment had been reported in the organisation.

He added that the incident was "distressing" and that those found guilty of such behavior will not be tolerated at Mahindra.

Since the sexual harassment accusations leveled by actress Tanushree Dutta against former co-star Nana Patekar in October, many women have come out to talk about harassment they themselves faced often from employers, colleagues or persons in positions of power. The wave brought fort hyper-alertness in the corporate sector with employers and employees becoming increasingly aware of sexual harassment laws at the workplace.

But while the glass ceiling was cracked, it is still a long way from being shattered. "Despite a strong Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy, the fact that we’ve had a few cases recently is distressing," Mahindra wrote on Twitter. "I say clearly that @MahindraRise has zero-tolerance for any form of sexual harassment. If you flout the policy, there’s no place for you here; and no place to hide,".

Despite a surge of women who came forward to variously call out their abusers or harassers, seek redress, offer solidarity or simply share, the response within a year of the movement has been disproportionate. While organisations rushed to comply with (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, (POSH), the battle has been steep for India's #MeToo accusers. The most prominent accusers are facing backlash in the form of defamation lawsuits, difficulty finding work and worse. However, many on Twitter felt that Mahindra's tweet reflected a tiny portion of the success of India's #MeToo movement. As Supreme Court advocate and gender equality proponent Karuna Nundy told Quartz, “#MeToo helped some people realize how widespread molestation and harassment are." It is a step forward. And employers like Mahindra could help a long way in taking the ideal of safe workspaces forward. Twitterati also appreciated Mahindra's warning to abusers. "It is high time that companies now start to take a stern stand towards wrongdoers. Great initiative!" a Twitter user wrote. "Its actually reassuring that sexual harassment cases are being reported at Mahindra. Employees clearly have faith in the organisation and that it won’t sweep it under the carpet. In most organisations that’s not the case which is why harassment doesn’t get reported," a journalist wrote.

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