The National Human Rights Commission has introduced Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy to provide guidance to integrate gender equality within its organisational structure, policy formulation, programme development, budget allocation, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The rights body said the policy was formulated to create stable, united, inclusive and prosperous work place with opportunities for all.

The policy mandates that NHRC's policies, programmes and activities should be structured in a way that ensures meaningful participation and inclusion of both men, women and sexual/gender minorities. This should be reflected in all processes, including gender responsive policy, programme, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation.

The policy requires that women, sexual/gender minorities benefit equally from its policies, programmes and activities. It also envisages that every individual affiliated to the NHRC regardless of their position be treated with the same dignity and respect.

"All policies, programmes and activities of the NHRC shall be gender sensitive. To ensure institutional accountability, all programmes shall be approved and audited by the rights body before final decision to assess gender implications across all its activities," reads the policy posted on the website of the NHRC.

It states gender-specific needs of women and sexual/ gender minorities shall be respected to ensure their safety and dignity within and outside the premises of the NHRC.

According to the policy, staffers with family responsibilities shall be supported to ensure that they are not further disadvantaged. All resources and opportunities shall be fairly allocated in a transparent manner to all regardless of position and gender.

"The NHRC shall pursue gender balance while forming different committees and task forces in the central, provincial and local levels."

All forms of violence and harassment in the workplace, including verbal, physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, are prohibited. Sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted hugs and touches, suggestive or lewd remarks, requests for sexual favour, or the display of indecent, derogatory, or pornographic pictures, posters, drawings, or videos, are prohibited.

Annual gender responsive audit will be carried out by Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Division of the NHRC to ensure the policy is being effectively implemented within the organisation.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.