The Collective, a group of female leaders from the Indian ad industry, has put together the action plan to make work places safe.
The Collective will collaborate with agencies and industry bodies to raise awareness about sexual harassment through workshops in offices, and sessions at industry events. The group also consists of legal members so that 'intent' could be 'actioned'.
It promises to work and train existing ICCs (Internal Complaints Committees). A website is being set up (www.thecollective.co.in) which will serve as a database of POSH (Policy for Prevention of Sexual Harassment) committees from advertising, digital and design agencies around India.
The letter reads:
We are a group of women who love this business and have given it our all, for decades now and we will help create a safe work culture for women and men in advertising, digital and design agencies around the country. Reaching independent agencies is part of this initiative and we are looking forward to their co-operation, to make this a success.
We are not representing our offices as we embark on this journey. We are, in our individual capacities, representing each one of you out there who has borne the brunt of harassment.
We now have diversity and legal representatives as a part of our team, to help us walk the path from intent to action.
So, what can you expect from us?
Let us start from the beginning.
Let us talk about the problem.
What constitutes inappropriate behaviour? What qualifies as harassment? What are the current laws regarding the subject?
We will collaborate with agencies and industry bodies to raise awareness about sexual harassment through workshops in offices, and sessions at industry events.
We will work with organisations to train their existing ICCs, so that the teams are fully equipped to deal with problems when they arise.
Last, but certainly not the least, we will take these awareness programmes to educational institutes as well. So that the next crop of youngsters walking through our doors are armed with the knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not.
Let’s move on to the solution, then.
Whom should you reach out to, when faced with harassment?
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will reach out to you and help.
Our website, www.thecollective.co.in, is currently under construction.
Going forward, it will serve as a database of POSH committees from advertising, digital and design agencies around India.
So no matter where you work, you can contact the right people, quickly and confidentially.
The website will also provide a guide to facilitate writing a complaint that captures relevant information in a clear manner.
Your ICC or POSH committee remains your first port of call when faced with harassment. They are bound by law to investigate the matter fairly and promptly. However, if for any reason whatsoever, you find yourself unable to approach your internal committee or you feel that your genuine complaint has not been dealt with satisfactorily, write to us.
Finally, what can we expect from you?
If you feel you have been wronged, speak out. We know it is easier said than done, but you should know you’re not alone. And that silence is not an option. If you are an organisation, work with us, join hands with us, be a part of the solution. We are all on the same side here.
This cause needs your participation and support as much as it does ours.
That is why we call it The Collective.
Signed: Tista Sen, regional creative director, JWT; Kainaz Karmakar, CCO, Ogilvy West; Swati Bhattacharya, CCO, FCB Ulka; Deepa Geethakrishnan, NCD, Lowe Lintas; Delna Sethna, CCO, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi; Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder director, Elephant Design; Malvika Mehra, founder and creative director, Tomorrow Creative Lab; Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works; Preeti Vyas, chairwoman and CCO, Vyas Giannetti Creative; Shagun Seda, ECD, DDB Mudra; Pallavi Chakravarti, ECD, Taproot Dentsu; Lulu Raghavan, MD, Landor; Aazmeen Kasad, advocate and professor of law; Deepa Shankar, diversity and inclusion consultant
Facilitators: Pallavi Nayak and Sakshi Choudhary