A step backward

The decision of the Labor Department of Karnataka to prohibit women from working in the night shift is a bolt from the blue. This wasn’t even in the news. All of a sudden this coming out now has left most of the women, the Human Resource departments & companies/shops confused and worried.

Reasons like harassment are being cited for this move. Obviously the government must have had some data based on which a decision like this was taken. Couldn’t the data be revealed? But why & on what basis was the distinction made to include only certain types of establishments into this & not the others. Is the affluent class less impacted than the vulnerable ones?

If harassment is the reason & going by this ruling, does it mean that there is no harassment of women working in the other establishments. Also going by what is getting written about this it seems like the government would have liked to spread this ruling across but they are unable to do it with certain kinds of industries as they have taken certain exemptions (IT/BT sector & the electronic media)

This is probably a very good example of a decision taken in haste & on the basis of very little input & with absolutely no forward looking approach. What is the government trying to achieve out of this? Will this step alone stop the harassments? Also doesn’t this tantamount to a certain kind of divide & rule?

At a time when women and men are considered at par, this ruling is going a step back. When there is an issue like this the government could have made basic guidelines to all the concerned establishments to tackle it instead of blindly resorting to barring women from working in the night shifts. Obviously employment of certain type of people needs to be governed but that governing is something that is possible within the work premises. But once an employee is out of the office there is very little governing that can happen. Here is where the government comes in with their resources like the police & city administration. So by bringing in this ruling is the government saying that they are unable to guarantee protection when women are out on the road after 8 PM. (the labor minister is actually saying that). And someone else in the government is talking of extending the night life deadline. So contradictory this. Obviously the government has no long term plan in terms of how they want the city to become in terms of its standard of living through the entertainment, employment conditions on offer here.

This move of the government is giving only negative signals to its citizens. It is coming across as “I cant protect you so you better get home early”. It should instead be saying “Go on, live your life. I am here to take care of things”.

8 Comments so far

  1. Karthik.B (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    In my neighborhood there is aunty’s shop which is kept open till 11:30 in night. The shop is attached to Aunty’s house. This woman is a widow who bravely fought and made her kids well educated ( Son is a Layer and Daughter a CA ) what will happen to her shop?? Should she close it @ 8:00 coz some fellow with out knowing the ground reality passed a law ???
    Def it’s a retrograde step. The hard hit are the women folks who work in STD booths/ Saree shops etc. basically the lesser paid jobs. These girls mostly come from rural parts of Karnataka and strive hard to make a living. In most of the cases they are not a graduates and their hold on English will not be good which disqualifies them from taking ITES jobs. In the era when the Kanndigas jobs are being encroached by ‘ floating population’ this step is like adding insult to injury.
    This ministry has no women representation in its cabinet. So this govt is severely handicapped when issues related to women are to be addressed.
    Tayi Bhuvaneshwari kapadi pls

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:41 am

    I had some thoughts on this matter but you’ve taken the initiative so good. Let me see what I can do further.

  3. Abhipraya (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:45 am

    Finally a post on this issue!

  4. Charles Haynes (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

    If women are being harassed the solution is to forbid men from being out after 8pm. It’s not women who are causing the problem, so there’s no need to restrict them.

  5. januM (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

    I go with Charles comment very much!
    Good that you stressed on the point “unable to guarantee protection when women are out on the road after 8 PM” for most problem caused for girls are not inside the work place. Its outside in the public particularly. Not this Govt nobody can help over this, unless there’s going to be a dictatorship like Hitler’s.
    Anybody who causes harm to any girl should be shot on the spot. We would be really happy when the Govt is going to pass a rule like this rather than acting like a coward doing silly stuff!

  6. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 10:31 pm

    Well-written post. And I agree with Charles! What a short-sighted step to harm women in the name of “protecting” them! Thank goodness, some sense seems to have prevailed. Guess the amount of public money all this must have taken up.

  7. R.A. Levin (unregistered) on May 13th, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

    Abhipraya took the words out of my mouth, there.
    I saw the news clip on IBN a week or two ago.
    This action and the “curfew” definitely takes away the potential for Bangalore’s ability to be a great late night city. All the elements for being one are there. Excellent restaurants, cinemas, places to have coffee, or whatever libation makes you smile.
    The local government seems to be frittering that chance away.
    “Rolling up the pavement” at 11.30 isn’t the best policy to keep locals and tourists happy.
    I just hope it isn’t something like a bad review in a Lonely Planet guide over this, that gives the heads-up to the politicians. Surely a few of them stay up past 10 P.M.


  8. Kumar (unregistered) on May 17th, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

    Women in Karnataka have missed an excellent opportunity to not work at night and enjoy their life.

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