International Working Womens Day March 8 2016
My kid is not well
My kid is writing school exams
My In law is not well
– Some of the reasons given by married women while taking leave
Ah, you are going to get months of salary without doing work
– A sarcastic comment by a male on woman colleague who is pregnant
Girls get job easily, you know
– A common notion amongst male population.
Your dressing and behaviour is the reason for that incident
– An advice to a victim of sexual harassment
She is having kid. I can’t take her for my project
– A decision taken by Project Manager for which Men and Women have equal responsibility
In our Caste, we don’t allow women to go for Jobs
– A comment derived from the values of Patriarchal and Caste System
Among 37lakhs workforce in Indian IT Industry 1 in 3 is a woman according to NASSCOM.
29% Gender Pay Gap in Indian IT Industry is reported from a survey taken by Monster.Com.This pay gap is due to more women quitting their jobs / taking breaks and only 36% promotion to higher positions.
Better Workplace and Improving Social Status of Women
Women social status in western countries is comparatively better than other parts of the world. It’s because of several hundred years of struggle by working women organizations to free from the discrimination, sexual harassment and exploitation from the capitalist and patriarchal social system.
Both IT Industry and workplace culture are imported from the Western countries. This imported workplace culture made the Indian IT Industry workplace comparatively better place for women than any other Industry here.
Thinking and treating women as equal stake holder in social and professional life is slowly improving. Participation of men in domestic work, child and elder care activities is slowly increasing among male employees in IT Industry.
Long way to go to attain Equality
But, the statements given in the beginning clearly shows that we are not exempted. We are part of the Patriarchal Social System that dominates the entire world. In addition, women in Indian Society are restricted by the values of Caste System.
For a sustainable society, we need two things. Production and Reproduction.Production – system which produces the basic needs (food, dress etc) of human life – which needs workforce to take care of basic needs of society.Reproduction – Child birth and Child care activities. Basically a future workforce needed for the social production.
In our Patriarchal Society women are not given equal opportunity in education and employment. Her participation in economic activity is considered secondary. Primary role of women is defined as Reproduction. Also Patriarchal culture defines the way of thinking, feelings, and the behaviour for both men and women. So, we assume certain roles and responsibilities are duties of women and men.
Healthy Society depends on the good health care and appropriate, quality education for children. Equal opportunity for female children. Only by this way we can create healthy workforce, intellectuals etc., as needed for the society. As a civilised society, equal opportunities should be given to differently abled, transgender, people with different sexual orientation to ensure the equal opportunities of each human being.
Hence it is the duty of government and entire society to consider child /elder / differently abled care are as social duty rather than women’s duty. Sensitizing both men and women especially men of this patriarchal society and encourage them to take part equal role in domestic work, child and other dependents care activities is important. Bringing up relevant policies and ensuring equal opportunities for women especially in education and employment is the duty of the government.
In general, women are reluctant to choose IT Industry as it demands long working hours. Human life does not mean for only social production. We also need to spend time with family members spouse, children, elders, relatives, and friends and take part in any other recreational activities to refurbish ourselves for next day.So, Long Working Hours is definitely an exploitative policy for both Men and Women. While the patriarchal society expects the child / elder care, domestic work to be fulfilled by women in addition to her economic activity, Just imagine how much exploitative these workplaces for women.
Unite and Fight for Society Free from all Exploitation
Recently Microsoft extended its maternity leave from 3 months to 6 months in addition to 3 months unpaid leave, flexible work arrangements up to two years.
Researchers have identified the first 1000 days of child’s life – from pregnancy through a child’s 2nd birth day – as a critical window of time which shapes the person’s intellectual development and lifelong health. The nutrition that we get during this period is a critical building block for the growth of our bodies, the development of our brains, and the health of our immune system.So, parental care is very important at this time period.
While it is the duty of our government to bring in appropriate policies to free the society from all kind of discrimination and exploitation, It is our duty to remind our government through our collective resistance against all anti people policies. This International Working Women’s Day is to remember the several hundred years of struggle of women and their sacrifice. It is to vow ourselves to continue this struggle to free from all kind of exploitation, harassment, discrimination.
To ensure equal opportunities for women Forum for IT Employees(FITE) has kept the following demands to State and Central Government.
• Grant paid maternity leave for at least 6 months
• Set up free child care facility in all organizations where women are employed
• Ensure equal employment opportunity at all levels of the organizational hierarchy
• Deploy women in night shift with their consent
• Give flexible working time and office location, with enough break-time during menses, pregnancy and breast feeding
• Ensure Internal Complaints Committee to inquire on the sexual harassments against women in all organizations where women are employed
• Organize gender sensitization workshops at regular intervals for all employees at workplace