"Naming and shaming will go a long way in lessening the pain these women have been carrying", Ms. Gandhi said.
Patekar has denied the allegations, but Mumbai police have opened an investigation into the matter after Dutta filed a fresh complaint. The institutional framework as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 has been put in place, she said, "to ensure harassment-free workplaces covering all women" of all ages, whether in full-time and part-time, public and private sector, organised or unorganised sectors and includes domestic workers, students, apprentices and even women visiting offices.
While India has been under the spotlight for sexual violence against women, sexual harassment at the workplace has seldom been under scrutiny. An editorial in the Economic Times, one of India's leading business publications, said on Tuesday that too often these committees have been "dysfunctional or ineffective".
Research shows a majority of US voters see sexual harassment as a serious problem, said Amanda Hunter, spokeswoman for the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which conducts research and promotes women for political office. Neither Akbar nor the ministry has responded. Until December 2017, a total of 1,971 cases of sexual harassment of women at the workplace has been reported. Reuters was able to speak to two of the five. She said her ministry has created a women-friendly environment in which they can complain to her directly. A seventh accuser, journalist Ghazala Wahab, said in a 2,300-word essay published on Wednesday by The Wire, an Indian online news site, that Akbar harassed her - both verbally and physically - over a six-month period in the 1990s.
Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi said on Friday that she believes in all the women who have come out with complaints of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement, and will be putting together a committee to look into complaints and the mechanisms that exist for dealing with them. It treated sexual harassment as an isolated offence, that should be solved by and within workplaces and further, silenced the survivors of sexual harassment at the workplace.
Karen Kessler, best known for her more than 25 years of crisis communication and reputation management in the state, said it was once practice for companies to always reach a settlement with a woman accuser before she departed the company. One of the accusers of Akbar, Shutapa Paul, said she had waited years to tell her story because only now does she feel strong enough to go public.
That same day, former TV producer, director and writer Vinta Nanda said on Facebook and in TV interviews that she was raped 19 years ago by actor Alok Nath.