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Indian nun unites domestic workers

Legislation against sexual harassment in the workplace demanded

Indian nun unites domestic workers
Domestic workers during a protest reporter, Indore

January 11, 2011

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Church people in a central Indian town have supported the domestic workers’ demand for rights and recognition. Around 1,000 domestic workers, who gathered in Indore on Jan. 9 to observe the International Domestic Workers Day, pledged to intensify their movement for decent work and legal protection. Holy Spirit Sister Rosily Panjikaren, who organized the program, said they have launched a signature campaign to demand that the federal government include domestic workers in the bill seeking protection against sexual harassment at workplace. The proposed bill envisages that every workplace have a forum to take up complaints of sexual harassment. The campaign aims to collect 25,000 signatures from Indore, said the nun, who directs the Indore Domestic Workers’ Solidarity, affiliated to the National Domestic Workers’ Movement. She said they would submit the signatures to the federal government when the national movement meets in New Delhi in March-April. Father Nicholas Martis, who heads the Divine Word congregation’s Central India province, described the domestic workers as the “most exploited lot,” who face harassment and molestation. Sister Sini, another Holy Spirit nun, says domestic workers require a forum to voice their grievances. Vishal Nadkarni, a woman and child development officer, said domestic workers have limited bargaining power because they are an isolated workforce. Gongabai Gunjal, a domestic worker, thanked Sister Panjikaren for uniting domestic workers in Indore to fight for their rights. The Indore Domestic Workers’ Solidarity, established in 2006 by the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, has more than 2,000 members in the city. Related reports Domestic Workers Demand Recognition, Just Wages Bishops Take Steps To Empower Women In Church IC12791.1636
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