From organising self-defence workshops to offering flexible working hours to distributing pepper sprays, noticing a rise in the crimes against women in the city, companies based in the city are taking several measures in order to make their women employees feel safe and secure.
Recently, companies like KPIT, Tech Mahindra and PTC organised self-defence workshops for their respective women staffers. President of Hinjewadi Industries Association (HIA), Anil Patwardhan, said the HIA has taken the initiative to organise awareness sessions on safety and security with the support of the Hinjewadi police station and Commissioner of Police. In addition to organising self-defence workshops for women employees of various companies, HIA also encourages the companies to conduct the sessions within the respective company premises so that more and more women can benefit from them.
“Besides, in order to control any untoward incident, last year, we introduced three Joint Security Task Force (JSTF) vehicles on the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park route, which are connected by wireless with the police station and security system of each company. The vehicles are stationed at the routes pre-defined by police station. Each vehicle has one police constable, two bouncers and a driver,” said Patwardhan, adding it was also important for women employees to be careful and “if they sight any suspicious activity, they must immediately seek help”.
At the company ADP, all programmes focused on women are driven under the aegis of a gender diversity council – MEDHA. It is driven by associates and aims to build a greater awareness among women associates. The Prevention of Harassment/Sexual Harassment policy at ADP ensures that associates can reach out immediately to their manager, supervisor, HR business partners, prevention of sexual harassment committee or the corporate legal team in case anyone has any undesirable situation or experience at workplace. The associates also have the ability to reach out to the corporate legal team and audit committee of ADP’s board of directors to report violations, said the management.
Besides, ADP MEDHA has facilitated many sessions to create awareness regarding safety and precautions to be taken by women. Programmes to train women on self-defence in a moving bus, moving car, lift, parking space, and park and also when they are attacked by multiple aggressors with or without weapon, have also been organised. The 180-minute training includes some easy techniques which anybody can apply when encountered with adversity.
Gurkanwal Kalsi, CEO of the firm Continuity 1, said, “We take safety of our people very seriously, especially women. Our office work hours are very well-defined and people policies prefer safety over everything else. Everyone carries a laptop in our office and thus can carry their work home and don’t need to stay late in office to complete their work.”
“Safety and security of women employees is of the prime importance to our organisation. Few of the basic steps taken to strengthen the safety net are: self-defence workshops, which have provided accessible options to ensure women can handle their own safety. These sessions are conducted periodically,” said Malini Sathi, Global Head of Human Resources, Quick Heal Technologies Limited. Sathi added that as a policy, the company does not allow women employees to either stretch at work or take late evening/shifts.
“They are encouraged and supported to leave office before 8 pm. In case of unavoidable work circumstances or natural reasons, it is mandatory that either their family member picks them up or they avail transport facility provided by the company. These controls are induced to ensure that all possible risks are mitigated. In addition, during the generic work hours, women staffers are deputed for any assistance a woman employee may need. The company also support special flexibilities for women in case they are not physically fit to travel to work place,” said Sathi.