CHALLENGES FACED BY WORKING WOMEN IN INDIA
For overall development of any society women play a really significant role. But rather than giving her equal share within the society’s development she still has got to remain at the clemency of men a minimum of here in India.
From not only taking care of herself but taking care of the entire family as a daughter, sister, grand-daughter, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, etc. women are of stronger character than men.
Nowadays, there’s a lively participation by women within the workplace. Women’s want to become self-independent. Though women in urban area have started earning and are economically equal to men but women in rural area who forms the majority of Indian population for female have yet to work hard for their status in society. COVID-19 has caused job losses to many of the Indians. But because of this it had a great impact on women’s participation in workforce. Women are working for unpaid labor more than men now due to this pandemic.
Since ancient period women are facing several problems like:
RESTRICTION TO WIDOW REMARRIAGE etc.
However, women were freed from all such practices by Raja Ram Mohan Roy who was a social reformer and father of the Modern India Renaissance in the 19th century. But this did not end the problems and challenges faced by women. With changing time modern challenges cropped up making life uneasy for women.
Several Problems Faced by The Women
women are making 83% of what men earn for the same job but still women face several challenges whether it be at the workplace or at home. The term Liberated Women implies to a woman who is economically independent, but for other things a woman still needs her husband and her family. She will not be accepted by the society if she is liberated in matters of marriage and family.
Working women in the 21st century may either belong to lower, middle or higher ranks of society. Problems are mostly faced by the women working for financial reasons as:
They have to work in an organization, full-time,
She is often sneered by her colleagues,
However hard she works, there are people who find one or the other fault in her work in order to harass her and the woman cannot complain about all such things against her just because of the fear of losing her job or her reputation in the eyes of colleagues, family or society.
There are certain challenges faced by working women which are as given:
Workplace adjustment: Working women in India goes through various challenges faced by her at the workplace. To earn for her family she has to anyway adjust herself in the environment of her colleagues whether male or female.
Discrimination at workplace: No doubt discrimination is made at the workplace. Specially in government jobs women faces discrimination if her colleague is a male worker. No matter how hard she works, she won’t be appreciated for her work, and this would lead to losing her attention towards her work.
No safety of working women while travelling: Working women who needs to travel a long distance from their home to their workplace, faces a large amount of harassment during travelling. Whether one travels through bus, local trains, taxis including uber, ola or even by their own convence, some or the other woman faces assault, rape, etc.
Job insecurity: One of the issues faced by most of the working women. If a woman seeks to get her maternity leave, she is at the high risk of losing her job specially in corporate sectors. 36% of women faces this issue almost every year.
Sexual Harassment: The term sexual harassment is a violation of one’s right to equality, life and Liberty. It does not only affect the victim but also creates an insecure environment for another women working at the same place and reduces the participation of women and thus affects their social and financial growth. For this legislature came with the act known as Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
Mental Harassment: Indian Penal Code has not defined the term mental harassment but it can be treated as cruelty or torture in the following sections of IPC:
Section 294: obscene acts and songs
Section 354: Assault or criminal force to woman with the intent to outrage her modesty.
And for the offence in section 354 of IPC, the punishment for the same has been provided in Section 354A of IPC.
Section 509: Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
Married women lack support from their family: Since ancient time women are believed to be housewives and are to look after their family and children. But with changing time women have paved their way to success and have showed to the society that they can balance their work and personal life together. Still there are women who are not supported by their family members if they are a working woman which affects their growth and make them weaker socially and financially.
Gender pay gap: Gender equality is still a dream for Indian citizens. Discrimination is mostly made against the women and mostly at the workplace. The average difference between the remuneration received by women and men gives us the gender pay gap. In India, girls are dropped out of school because their parents don’t have enough money for their studies. But with time the thinking of society also changed and most of the parents support their girl child for her studies. Even in today’s time girls are performing better than boys. But though if a girl is well educated, she is not allowed to work and even if she is allowed to do so, women often need to take childcare leave, maternity leave or leave for healthcare of other member of the families. Which leads to losing her job or due to leaves she is paid less for her work.
Unemployment penalty: If a woman continues take longer leaves for the child rearing years, her possibility of rehiring for her job decreases. Which in other word means, during child rearing years, the unemployment penalty will be longer which reflects in the gender pay gap and it becomes harder for a woman to hold senior positions or promotions.
Race and ethnicity: Though there are places where still racism is practiced but it has been reduced in India due to the laws mentioned in our Constitution of India. Special provision has been made for women related to economic, educational institutions or special laws relating to the workplace they work at.
If a woman is married and is a working woman her domestic life is also not smooth. Her household works are not reprieved because of her office job. To finish her household chores, she has to get up early in the morning. Before leaving the house for office she needs to complete all the work. But with changing times and adapting to western culture women are supported by their husbands who help them in the household activities and chores. Even after returning back to home, she has to help her children with their studies, prepare evening meals, etc.
Vishaka and others v/s State of Rajasthan (Air 1997) 6 SCC 241
FACTS OF THE CASE:
In the year 1985, a woman named Bhanwari Devi who belonged to Bhateri, Rajasthan started to work under the WDP (Women’s Development Program) run by the Government of Rajasthan. As a part of her job, in the year 1987, Bhanwari took up an issue of a woman hailing from a neighboring village who was attempted to rape. For this she was supported by the village members.
Again in 1992, Bhanwari took up an issue related to child marriage which was based on government’s campaign against child marriage. But this campaign received disapprovals by the village members. Meanwhile there was a family who was preparing to perform such a marriage of their infant daughter. Bhanwari tried to convince them to stop the marriage but she failed and the family decided to go ahead with the marriage. On 5th May 1992, SDO and DSP went and stopped the marriage. But the next day marriage was performed and later villagers established that the police visit was the result of Bhanwari Devi’s actions and her family and she was boycotted after this resulting in losing her job. On 22nd September 1992, Bhanwari Devi and her husband were attacked by 5 men and later she was gang-raped by them. With her incessant determination to get justice she managed to lodge a complaint. Soon after these organizations and women activist who supported Bhanwari came together and a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed. The women’s rights group who filed a PIL was named as ‘VISHAKA’ and its main focus was the execution of fundamental rights of women at workplace under the provision of Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 and also raised the issue for protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace.
Regardless of whether, the institution of rules compulsory for the repayment of inappropriate behavior of ladies at working environment.
The judgment of Vishakha’s case was passed on by Chief Justice J.S Verma as an agent of Justice Sujata Manihar and Justice B.N Kripal by virtue of writ request which was document by Vishakha the survivor of this case. The court saw that the essential rights under Article 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of Constitution of India that, each calling, exchange or occupation ought to give safe work space to the representatives. It hampered the privilege to everyday routine and the option to experience a stately life. The fundamental prerequisite was that there ought to be the accessibility of safe work space at work environment.
With changing time people are awaken to the fact that women are creating history in almost every field. Whether it be organizations, private sector or government sector, there are many female workers who have booked their name in the book of history.
Women must take their stand and fight against the crimes done against them. They should make themselves aware of the rules and laws related to workplace environment and the actions they can take against the offender. Everyone is equal in the eyes of law and so are the women. If a woman is treated unequally or treated unfairly, she has the right to be expressive and fight against her male colleagues.
Various other policies like that of Delhi government to make travelling free for women so that there could be gender parity and it would help in coping up the gender gap as it would help women to save Rs.50 by a casual working woman on her travelling expense.
Though Government of India has favored for equal rights of women and has introduced various laws and policies for empowerment of women in India but these policies and laws are not known by many of the women due to less publicity of such laws. There would be a gradual increase in the status of women at workplace if all working women are educated about the laws and policies made for their benefit.
Organizations should provide policies before recruiting women for the job about the strict action they would take if the woman is sexually or mentally harassed by someone at the workplace. And they should be comforted with regarding the equal pay at the workplace.
Not only laws and policies would work for women but also family values play an important role in this. Every male should be educated to respect women and treat them equally as rest of them. Then the rules and policies will be of no use.
Every or the other day we have many success stories of women who have broken all the records of ancient tradition that women are meant to be housewives, creating their own path and heading towards success in their life. But in India the change of women in Indian society and position at workplace is a long process but one day there would be equality among men and women whether be at workplace or in any field.
3RD YEAR STUDENT
AMITY UNIVERSITY, LUCKNOW