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80 Girls went on a Hunger Strike in Northern India to protest Harassment they faced on Way to School

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More than 80 girls went on a hunger strike in northern India to protest the harassment they faced on the way to school, drawing attention to the dangerous commutes that are a key barrier to girls’ education in the country.

The teenagers, from grades nine and 10, ended the strike after eight days on Wednesday, when the education minister of northern Haryana state said he would add two grades to their school so they would not have to go to another village to complete their high school education.

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The girls said they were harassed by young men on motorbikes who made lewd comments, tugged at their clothes and took pictures of them on their mobile phones as they walked or cycled to school everyday.

For grades 11 and 12, the girls would have had to travel 3 km (2 miles) to another school. They had said they would drop out, as the extra distance would mean more harassment.

“A principal has been appointed, and admissions will start for the 2017-18 session on Thursday itself for the new classes,” Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma told reporters.

Television images showed the girls, in blue and white uniforms, slumped in the laps of their mothers and other students before they ended their fast. Some were hospitalized after they fainted.

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While literacy levels in India have steadily climbed as enrollment surged, the dropout rate remains high.

About 18 percent of students dropped out before grade 10, according to official data. A survey by nonprofit Save the Children found the dropout rate for girls is as high as 70 percent.

That has led to an uneven national literacy rate of 65 percent for women compared to 82 percent for men.

Reasons for dropping out range from poverty to lack of facilities such as toilets, which affect adolescent girls more, said Soha Moitra, a director at nonprofit Child Relief and You (CRY) in Delhi.

To address these problems, officials passed the 2009 Right to Education Act promoting free, compulsory education for children up to age 14, and have introduced efforts to build more toilets under a national cleanliness campaign.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed the importance of educating girls with the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (save your daughter, educate your daughter) campaign.

But the issue of unsafe commutes is unresolved, Moitra said.

“Especially in villages and small towns, students may have to walk through open fields and lonely neighborhoods,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable because of the lack of safe public transport.”

A 2014 poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India the fourth most dangerous place for a woman to take public transport.

With a patriarchal society and cultural preference for sons, Haryana has among the lowest sex ratios with 879 females per 1,000 males, compared to the national average of 943.

The state also has a high incidence of violence against women.

Earlier this week, Haryana police said a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped and murdered by men who smashed her skull with bricks.

“The issue is no longer if girls want to study. It’s an issue of safety. If we cannot guarantee that, how can we blame them for dropping out of school?” Moitra said. (VOA)

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Workplace Harassment – Do I Have a Case?

Professional harassment attorneys can help guide you with confidence through the legal system while ensuring that your rights are being protected

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There are many federal and state laws that protect every worker from different types of harassment inside the workplace. In today’s world it is not just sexually based offenses that are the only discriminatory violations in many places. There are many forms of harassment that can be addressed by employees through an experienced attorney at Shaw Kreizer Trial and Injury Attorneys.

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Discrimination is strictly prohibited in Workplace. Pixabay

If you are experiencing types of discrimination that is making your workplace a hostile environment for you, it is vital that you consult with a professional to review your rights. Discrimination has many forms:

Age                              Sex                              Gender                        Disability

Religion                       Nationality                   Pregnancy                   Right to Work

If you are being denied a job placement, a deserved raise in pay, refused access to services or promotions based on any of these facts, you are experiencing illegal and immoral discrimination. Your value as an employee should not be reflective of any factors other than your work performance evaluations and your value to the company.

The most common and feared issue with filing a complaint about workplace harassment is the fear of retaliation from supervisors or coworkers. No one should fear standing up for their legal rights because of the potential to be cast out as a likely troublemaker. Times are rapidly changing (hopefully for the better) in the modern workplace and we are seeing employee-friendly environments, but it’s not happening fast enough.

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It is important for an employee to be aware of his or her rights. Pixabay

On the darker side of harassment there can be some devastating personal effects from refusing unwanted sexual advancements or suggested perks on the job. These types of incidents are not only highly illegal and rigidly immoral, but they can cause serious damage to their targets. Imagine not wanting to go to work for fear of being groped, humiliated or even fired for not participating in sexual favors for a superior.

Also Read: 10 Facts About The Most Famous Defense Lawyer of India

Each employee has the right to not only file a complaint in-house, but to also consult a professional harassment attorney to make them aware of their legal rights. In these types of cases, you can file for damages covering the suffering that these acts have caused you. Damages can cover things such as:

  • Lost wages from wrongful dismissal
  • Missed time due to fear of a toxic workplace environment
  • Loss of benefits
  • Loss of holiday pay/time
  • Punitive damages

There is no one, male or female, of any race or religion that should fear going into their workplace because of the immoral way that they are being treated. Not only can it have long lasting effects, but it can negatively affect the entire workplace environment.

If you are uncomfortable going in to work, if you have been denied basic rights in your workplace because of a filed complaint or if you have been inappropriately interacted with especially by a superior, you may have a case for a harassment suit.

All workers are entitled to basic rights under the law. Pixabay

Professional harassment attorneys can help guide you with confidence through the legal system while ensuring that your rights are being protected. Dealing with harassment issues in the workplace can be a lonely and intimidating road to walk alone, so get yourself some guidance from professionals that have your best legal and personal interests in mind.