Introducing Intersectional Discrimination in Anti-Sexual Harassment Training in India

Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Giti Chandra


The Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2013 was a result of a long-fought battle by the feminist movement in India. The law led to the setting up of mechanisms to address cases of sexual harassment in the workplace which otherwise have been missing. In 2015, the University Grant Commission’s (UGC) understanding the need for creating safe educational campuses introduced the UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of women employees and students in Higher Education Institutions) Regulation 2015, thereby expanding the scope of the law to include students in higher educational institutes.

The law makes it mandatory for workplaces and higher education spaces to organize training and workshops to raise awareness of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. However, while talking about discrimination and harassment, it is pertinent to consider the intersections of caste, class, race, and sexuality, with gender. The law, however, seems to look at cases of sexual harassment faced by a woman in the workplace along the single axis framework of sex only i.e., it protects women as an isolated category but fails when other identities overlap (Baudh, 2021 & Crenshaw, 1989). In India, where caste-based discrimination and bias are a reality, failure to locate caste dynamics in cases of sexual harassment means that women from marginalized castes are not only vulnerable to sexual harassment but are also hindered in their access to justice due to systemic and structural inequalities.

While dwelling on the question of ‘Missing Intersectionality in the law’, a closer look into training handbooks on the Anti-Sexual Harassment law highlights that the word ‘caste’ has been missing from the discourse. This project aims at introducing the category of intersectional discrimination in anti-sexual harassment training. A training handbook will be produced which will look at sexual harassment comprehensively; this training handbook will then be used to conduct training for different groups of students, employees, and people involved in due process. Trainers from around India, who conduct similar training, will be trained through ToT workshops using this handbook. For gender trainers in the field, this would translate into visualizing these intersectionalities which are otherwise omitted in the law, and working with institutions to apply the conceptual framework of intersectionality in their understanding of anti-discrimination. The project, by building rapport with formal workspaces and educational institutes, will aim to include intersectional discrimination in the Anti-Sexual Harassment policies of these institutions.