We invite all those who participated in OBR 2013 to submit reflections on any events they conducted or campaigns they held towards creating awareness about the issue of violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka. Amba Research Lanka (Private) Limited conducted a week long awareness campaign for their employees, with a special focus on sexual harassment in the workplace.
The One Billion Rising Campaign was introduced to Amba Research Lanka (Private) Limited (“Amba”) by its CSR committee. Having recently pledged its cause to promote sustainability into all ranks of the company, Amba recognized that sustainable growth must always start within, with its employees. Thus, we chose to make One Billion Rising a platform to launch a week long campaign on educating the staff on Gender Based Violence in all forms, with an emphasis on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
The weeklong campaign was as follows:
14th February 2013 : One Billion Rising Colours Day – Dress in White, Red, Pink or Black and show your support to the global One Billion Rising Campaign
14th – 21st February 2013 : White Ribbon Week – Purchase a white ribbon to show your support against Gender Based Violence. A total of Rs 25,000 was raised through the sale of White Ribbons, which was donated to Women in Need.
14th February 2013 : Launch of Amba Whistle Blowing Policy*
21st February 2013 : Talk by Shyamala Gomez (Lawyer, former UN Gender Advisor) on Sexual Harassment and Gender Equality in the work place.
The CSR committee also collaborated with Legal, Compliance and HR to send out email flyers educating the staff on the boundaries of professional conduct within the workplace throughout that week.
The week long campaign received extremely good staff participation with 80% of the workforce participating in the Colours Day and attending the talk, whilst over 95% of the staff purchased a white ribbon with a donation of their choice.
The talk by Ms. Gomez which coincided with the launch of the whistle blowing policy (which includes a section on Sexual Harassment) proved to be an educational hour for everyone. Ms Gomez’s easy and interactive session helped clear any doubts on professional conduct, and what qualifies as sexual harassment. She also educated the staff on various avenues of action that are available to them both within and outside the work place in the event of sexual harassment.
*Whistleblowing encourages and enables employees to raise serious concerns within the work place without reprisal.