Me Too Movement and its impact


Tarana Burke is generally accepted as the leader of the movement but she believes that before a leader she is a worker and the movement aimed at including both men and women irrespective of their colour and the age group they belong to. The movement supported a lot of marginalised part of society in marginalised communities. Milano states that a priority for #MeToo is changing the laws surrounding sexual harassment and assault, for example instituting protocols that give sufferers in all industries the ability to file complaints without retaliation. She supports legislation making it difficult for publicly traded companies to hide cover-up payments from their stockholders and would like to make it illegal for employers to require new workers to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of employment.[1]


Gender analysts such as Anna North have stated that #MeToo should be addressed as a labor issue due to the economic disadvantages to reporting harassment. North suggested combating underlying power imbalances in some workplaces, for example by raising the tipped minimum wage, and embraces innovations like the “portable panic buttons” that are mandated for hotel employees in Seattle.[2]

Burke was of the viewpoint that women must not be ashamed of reporting the instances of sexual harassment and offers them continuous support. Burke stated that the main aim of the movement will be to provide victims with the resources and providing them with a healing platform and ensure that changes are made in the laws and policies. She believed that women need to be informed about the laws and policies

There was huge number of cases reported against Harvey Weinstein. The movement caught the attention of women world-wide and to bring to notice of people the magnitude of sexual harassment acts that were being faced by the women.

The analysis of the movement clearly showed the prevalence of sexual violence that was estimated by the World Health Organisation, which clearly states that one-third of the women are affected worldwide. The analysis shows that 95% of the cases of sexual harassment/ violence often remain unpunished. It is observed that generally the instances of sexual harassment are not even reported as the women fear that their allegations may not be seriously taken by the authorities as, it is difficult to gather evidence to prove cases of sexual harassment. Lack of evidence is one reason that the perpetrators aren’t scared and they continue with their wrongdoings. Further , it has been observed that perpetrators most of times the people who are close to the women and they believe that they cannot afford to go against them, hence the incidents  remain unreported.

Sexual Harassment

Worldwide, the instances of workplace sexual harassment are considered as gross violation of rights of woman and it is another form of violence that is prevalent against women. However the gender roles give the privilege to men to justify the harassment of women. Sexual harassment thus, is mirror reflecting power of men over women that help them to sustain patriarchal relations. The violence against women is generally borne out of the patriarchal values that may be subtle and direct and they are obligated to follow the dogmatic gender roles. These patriarchal values and attitudes of both women and men pose the greatest challenge in resolution and prevention of sexual harassment. Workplace sexual harassment, like other forms of violence, is not harmless. It involves serious health, human, economic and social costs, which manifest themselves in the overall development indices of a nation.

#Metoo in India

In India it was a child of the international me too movement as 2018 saw the advent of the #MeToo campaign in India. Inspired by the worldwide movement against sexual assault and harassment, women across the range came and disclosed their stories about abuse by men holding the positions of power. And it all started in October 2018 with actress Tanushree Dutta accusing actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment while they were shooting for the 2008 film ‘Horn Ok Please’.[3]

The same was followed by allegations by various film stars who discussed their instances when assault/ harassment were faced by them during their work. Though the laws are in force that aims at curbing the increasing sexual harassment of women. In India Vishakha v State of Rajasthan, where a writ petition exposing an incident of brutal gang rape and the hazards that women are exposed to at work places. Though India had ratified CEDAW, Convention on Elimination of All forms of discrimination against women and further the Apex Court had directed the legislature to come up with the separate legislation and it took almost 13yrs to come up with such a legislation.

Sexual Harassment in India

Sexual harassment in India is known by the Vishakha’s[4] judgement which for the first time took into consideration about the increasing sexual harassment. The POSH Act defines ‘sexual harassment’ in line with the Supreme Court’s definition of ‘sexual harassment’ in the Vishaka Judgment. As per the POSH Act, ‘sexual harassment’ includes unwelcome sexually tinted behaviour, whether directly or by implication, such as (i) physical contact and advances, (ii) demand or request for sexual favours, (iii) making sexually coloured remarks, (iv) showing pornography, or (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature[5]

Sexual harassment constitutes a gross violation of women’s right to equality and dignity. It has its roots in patriarchy and its attendant perception that men are superior to women and that some forms of violence against women are acceptable. One of these is workplace sexual harassment, which views various forms of such harassment, as harmless and trivial. Often, it is excused as ‘natural’ male behaviour or ‘harmless flirtation’ which women enjoy. Contrary to these perceptions, it causes serious harm and is also a strong manifestation of sex discrimination at the workplace. Not only is it an infringement of the fundamental rights of a woman, under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India “to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business”; it erodes equality and puts the dignity and the physical and psychological well-being of workers at risk. This leads to poor productivity and a negative impact on lives and livelihoods. To further compound the matter, deep-rooted socio-cultural behavioural patterns, which create a gender hierarchy, tend to place responsibility on the victim, thereby increasing inequality in the workplace and in the society at large. [6]

Sexual harassment at workplace

Though sexual harassment prima facie constitutes gross violation of rights of women however the legislature came with the legislation i.e The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came into existence to make sure working spaces for women and to create an environment that provides equality of opportunity and status to women. An effective implementation of the Act will contribute to the realisation of their right to gender equality, life and liberty, equality in working conditions everywhere. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and inclusive growth.

Impact of #Metoo movement

Cultural impact

Since a while, Bollywood has been accused of promoting a culture that often promotes toxic ideas of masculinity as the ultimate, given norm of society. In fact, one of the most common storylines in many films normalizes stalking as an acceptable form of behavior in trying to win the attention of the female lead. Additionally, the prevalence of many item numbers and songs which exist without any relevance to the plot, only to raise the glamour quotient in films, continue to glorify the objectification of women. This of course is the result of regressive, patriarchal norms that are still deeply internalised in our culture and society.

However, we are slowly moving towards a culture that is striving towards gender equality and attempting to break away from sexist trends. There are more films being made with female protagonists in the lead today, which has, in turn, encouraged actresses to hike their fees to what they rightfully deserve. [7]

For instance, actress Deepika Padukone was paid more than her male co-stars for the contentious, epic-drama Padmaavat that released last year. With more and more actresses breaking the ‘eye-candy’ or ‘beauty without brains’ stereotype and strongly voicing their opinions on various issues of critical importance, especially concerning their representation in films or unflattering experiences on a movie set, the #MeToo movement has become an integral part of mainstream popular culture in India, and hopefully will not fade away anytime soon.[8]

Political impact

Though the #MeToo movement that began in the entertainment industry, it went on to hit the political arena too and famous personalities came in the open ground. Despite being the world’s largest democracy, Indian politics has always been a sensation. The head of Mahila Congress, Shri. Sushmita Dev, was of the view that movement must not be given a political influence further she stated “She was of the view that it is one of those issues that must not be politicised and called it a people’s movement.” She further elaborated, “#MeToo is a movement that wont only revolve around evidence but it is a harsh reality that has to be accepted by the citizens. She believed that women should come up with their instances without any fear and shame. She promised to make sure that legislations are enforced properly and laws further to empower women are passed.

Though the Women and child development minister, Shri Maneka Gandhi proposed to create a committee to tackle all the matters connected with the movement with eminent legal personalities in it. Further to create an ensured a friendly environment at workplace and to make it more safe and comfortable for her a complaint portal #SheBox was started where the complaints against the perpetrators can be lodged directly.


The introduction of SHe-Box is a positive step of the Indian government in its continuing efforts to provide a safe and fair working environment for women. With this initiative, female employees now have another channel to raise workplace sexual harassment complaints. The government will however need to quickly implement the requisite infrastructure and resources to manage this initiative to achieve the desired objectives. While SHe-Box has currently been designed to cater to the interests of female employees, enabling them to raise complaints of sexual harassment on a quick time basis without fear of retaliation, the government should also use this platform by providing necessary tools to help employers comply with the Anti-Harassment Law. By way of examples, SHe-Box could serve as a point of reference for employers or their ICC should they have any questions relating to the process to be followed upon receiving a complaint or how the report should be worded. It could also serve as a repository of experienced personnel who could serve as the external member on the employer’s ICC at different locations.[9]


Though #Metoo was just a movement, but it gave the spark to the citizens to fight against the harassment. However the courts have been actively involved in issuing directions to the states to make sure that the Internal Complaints Committee for the organised sector and Local Complaints Committee for the unorganised sector have been established by the authorities. However the actual need is to educate the women about what actually constitutes sexual harassment as they might have been facing the same but ignoring because of stigma that may be attached to them if they complain about it.

“The views of the authors are personal


[1] Milano, Alyssa (January 4, 2018). “Alyssa Milano on joining time’s up: ‘women are scared; women are angry'”. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved January 6, 2018.

[2]  “What I’ve learned covering sexual misconduct this year”. Vox. December 27, 2017. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018 “What I’ve learned covering sexual misconduct this year”. Vox. December 27, 2017. Archived from the original on January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018


[4] 1997 6 SCC 241

[5] Section2(n)of the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act , 2013



[8] Ibid


Harsh Gupta
I am Harsh vasu Gupta pursuing my BA.LLB from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. I am associated with his mooting society and Legal Aid society of his college. My areas of interest are constitution, criminal and international law. I love to write blogs and articles. My hobbies are playing cricket and listening songs.