Post #MeToo, What Are Young Entrants To The Workplace Thinking?

As a new crop of young women join the workplace, The Quint reveals their perspectives, expectations and inhibitions.

Published10 Nov 2019, 09:19 AM IST
Gender
3 min read
“I now look at workplaces as yet another place a woman needs to be scared (at).”
Fathima, 23, PG Final Year Student

Last year, the #MeToo movement took social media by storm. The nation was left reeling as popular names in the media, the film industry and the political arena were outed as sexual harassers.

Actor and former model Tanushree Dutta went public about the alleged harassment she faced at the hands of Nana Patekar on the sets of their 2008 film Horn Ok Pleassss, giving courage to a host of women to come out and name their tormentors.

From veteran actors like Alok Nath to Sahitya Akademi awardee Kiran Nagarkar, shockwaves were felt across the board. After a year, the consequences of the allegations are at different stages of development, and justice is still far. However, the movement uncovered various aspects of power dynamics in the workplace that had been brushed under the carpet before.

So, as a new crop of young women join the workplace, The Quint asks them – how would they navigate their way in this new world?

How Did Your Perception Change After #MeToo?

Tanya, a 21-year-old assistant producer said, “My perception didn’t change much because the idea of sexual harassment being prevalent in film/media industry is always at the back of your head. At the same time, when names like Nana Patekar or comedians that advocate gender equality came up, that’s when it actually hits you.”

Most women would agree that sexual harassment at the workplace is unfortunately no new phenomenon; however, the volume of allegations that the movement revealed took everyone by surprise.

“I was aware of the mentality, what I was surprised by was the sheer volume of victims that came to the fore.”
Tanya, 21, Graduate Student

Will You Ask Your Prospective Employer About Sexual Harassment Policies?

Knowledge, they say, is the ultimate power, and many women we interviewed agreed.

"I would definitely want to know what kind of protocols they follow, with regard to any kind of sexual harassment that takes place in their company and how fast they react to that kind of a situation," said 23-year-old postgraduate Sumedha.

However, asking such difficult questions can be tough – and many young entrants admit they’d find it difficult to navigate the power dynamics.

“I haven’t thought about it. After so many unanswered emails, you enter an interview and you are just looking for the job.”
Ansh, 21, Freelance Animator

Will You Refuse a Job If the Workplace is Unsafe?

The professional space is brutal for a fresher; there are thousands vying for the same position. Some claim they wouldn’t tolerate an unsafe atmosphere.

“If I cannot grow there, and I cannot contribute to my work, then I don’t think I can be of any use to them – or they to me.”
Shruti, 23, Assistant Policy Researcher

The choice to quit, however, is not available to all. Social, financial, personal and many other inhibitions can restrict one from leaving an uncomfortable situation.

“The kind of question at hand is whether other people would have the same kind of access to dropping jobs if the sexual guidelines are not kept in place.”
Tannishtha, 24, Postgraduate Student

The #MeToo movement is one year old, but the evils that the movement revealed haven’t disappeared. The voices of these young women, then, are more important than ever.

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