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Taking concrete steps to strengthen women’s rights

Graphic: Participants at the APF-led workshop

The National Human Rights Commission of India will consider a proposal to better support the needs of its female staff.

The National Human Rights Commission of India will consider a proposal to modernise its facilities and workplace environment to better support its female staff members.

Some of the practical changes put forward in the proposal include: provision of a crèche to provide childcare; a rest/changing room exclusively for women; a women's washroom on each floor; flexible working hours and the capacity to work from home; counselling on health, parental and marital issues; and maternity and child care leave for all employees, including contract and outsourced staff.

The proposal was developed as part of an APF training program for the Commission's senior and junior staff that examined the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to promote and protect the rights of women and girls.

The workshop focused on the steps NHRIs could take to contribute to a sound legal system that protected women's rights, the need to work with others to address violence against women and girls, and strategies NHRIs can adopt to integrate a focus on women's rights across all aspects of their operations.

Graphic: Group shots of workshop participants

In a workshop for junior staff (30-31 October 2017), participants worked in small groups to develop four possible projects that the Commission could implement to strengthen women's rights.

These proposals were voted on by participants in a second workshop for senior staff (1-2 November 2017), who then worked together to identify concrete steps to enhance the Commission's facilities and workplace environment for women.

The finalised proposal will now be submitted to the Commission's leadership team for consideration. The APF has offered a grant of AUD 5000 to support implementation of the project.

"It is very heartening to see APF members look at creative ways to make their workplaces more supportive of women," said Pip Dargan, Deputy Director of the APF secretariat.

"We know how important it is that women and men are equitably represented at all levels of employment within NHRIs, especially so that women and girls who have experienced human rights violations can access the support they need in an environment where they feel safe," she said.

"Moreover, as human rights watchdogs, the community looks to NHRIs for leadership. That's why it is critically important that NHRI's regularly review their employment policies and practices in order to create an environment where women can thrive at work, as well as ensure the full participation of women in that review process."

Date: 15 November 2017

Graphic: Woman smiling

Promoting and Protecting the Human Rights of Women and Girls: A Manual for NHRIs

This manual examines the different ways that NHRIs can use their unique mandate to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls.

Image credits

  1. Participants at the APF-led workshop - APF/Fasoha Aishath
  2. Group shots of workshop participants - APF/Fasoha Aishath