Still Wrestling With Our Demons

Analysis of the Impact of Indian Athletes Speaking Out Against Sexual Harassment and the Road Ahead

Analysis for a Layman

The opinion piece discusses Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik’s decision to retire after a year-long protest, along with other athletes, against sexual harassment allegations involving the head of a sports federation. It underscores the courage required by female athletes to compete in male-dominated sports within India’s patriarchal context. Despite Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to women’s equality, the article argues that toxic masculinity and inadequate institutional support remain significant issues. The case of wrestlers protesting against the Wrestling Federation of India’s head and his subsequent return highlights deep-rooted challenges. While recent government action suspending the federation is a positive step, the article emphasizes the need for fundamental changes in attitudes and accountability. It warns that India’s national progress could be undermined if women’s rights and safety are not urgently prioritized across various sectors.

Still Wrestling With Our Demons

Impact on Retail Investors

For retail investors, particularly those interested in social impact, this case illustrates the complexities of achieving gender equity and accountability for sexual misconduct in India. While legislative changes have been made, transforming deeply ingrained social biases and male-dominated power structures remains challenging. Investors in sectors like sports should assess if companies and federations have transparent policies and processes to prevent and address sexual harassment. Clear whistleblower protections and the presence of women in leadership roles are positive indicators. However, swift suspensions or removals without fundamental cultural changes have limited impact. Investors should analyze if organizations demonstrate a sustained commitment to creating a safe, respectful, and empowering environment for women. Zero tolerance for sexual misconduct, coupled with training and inclusion initiatives, indicates commitment.

Impact on Industries

In the realm of Indian sports, there will be a need for greater oversight and reform in federation governance to rebuild athlete trust. Expanding female leadership is crucial. All sporting bodies face pressure to strengthen sexual harassment policies and response mechanisms. This also applies to sectors like entertainment, media, and corporate India, where #MeToo allegations have emerged. Progressive companies should proactively enhance gender sensitivity training, reporting channels, and support systems for those who come forward. Industries with large female workforces, including healthcare, education, and retail, must also reinforce safe and equitable work cultures. However, lasting change requires collaboration between companies, government, and civil society to transform societal attitudes and norms. Both the private and public sectors must invest in large-scale campaigns and education to redefine masculinity and gender roles for the modern era.

Long Term Benefits & Negatives

In the long term, high-profile cases of women speaking out can catalyze broad positive change in gender norms, establishing new expectations of respect and accountability. Younger generations exposed to more progressive attitudes from a young age may fundamentally reshape culture. With sexual harassment carrying greater reputational, financial, and legal consequences, workplaces could transform into more inclusive, safe spaces for women to advance. Sports and other male-dominated fields may also become more accessible to women. However, backlashes from conservative segments are also possible. Change may be largely superficial without true mindset shifts, leading to disillusionment. Pushing change too aggressively through regulation versus persuasion risks resistance. Patience and persistence will be required for lasting impact.

Short Term Benefits & Negatives

In the near term, high-profile allegations often create pressure for swift action, such as suspensions, arrests, or investigations. While this satisfies public demand for accountability, it sometimes precedes deeper change. Reforms may only be token gestures, and those accused may face condemnation without due process. For activists, securing justice in individual cases remains difficult despite mass outcry. On the positive side, bursts of outrage can prompt introspection, sparking initial policy improvements while awareness grows. But translating outrage into organized, sustained movements is essential for making a major impact on social mindsets and corporate cultures. The path forward demands carefully channeling anger into pragmatic action, requiring compromise and patience.

Proper Citation:
Menon, Anjana. “Still Wrestling With Our Demons.” The Times of India, 26 Dec. 2023,

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top

Subscribe to Profitnama to access all articles, explanations, stock analysis
Already a member? Sign In Here