National Institute of Psychology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

Dr. Muhammad Ajmal

Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad

NIPConnect

NIP-CONNECT

Online Training on Workplace Sexual Harassment

NIP has successfully started its new series of webinars with name of NIP-CONNECT where the aim is to spread the knowledge of psychosocial issues in masses and connecting field experts with community. The first webinar of the series was conducted on December 27, 2023 on “Creating Harassment-Free Environment” by Maliha Hussain who is working as Executive Director of Mehergarh: A Centre for Learning. She is also working closely with federal and provincial governments for implementations of sexual harassment law in workplace settings. The webinar was attended by NIP faculty, students, and faculty from other universities, lawyers, and many individuals who were working in different organizations. Maliha Hussain firstly created a baseline understanding by discussing the definitional aspects of sexual harassment and related myths after which she discussed the laws. Particularly; the myth, that victims are mainly victimized due to their appealing attires, remained focus of detailed discussion among audience. Not only myths were discussed but participants came up with published and personal incidents of harassment and related their experiences with definitions and myths of sexual harassment.

Maliha Hussain also emphasized that creating awareness regarding harassment is responsibility of the organizations. Employees should be encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment and management must be well qualified and should have standing inquiry committees to penalize the perpetrators. Thus, creating awareness regarding the said issue is key responsibility of the organizations in order to condemn this act and create their environments harassment free. In case of absence of standing inquiry committee or dissatisfaction with their performance, an employee can directly file the case in Ombudsperson (Muhtasib) within thirty days of decision from standing inquiry committees. The take-home message of the webinar was to create awareness on sexual harassment at every level (including households, workplaces, and educational institutes) so that people will not have to suffer from the said issue.