Problems of Working Women

3116 words (12 pages) Essay

24th May 2017 Sociology Reference this

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While discussing the issues and concerns about working women, the main emphasis should be on the ‘opportunities for women’, as it is of utmost importance. Like every human being, a woman has a ‘natural desire for the expression of her inborn knack and abilities’; even a small baby shows his natural guts through his actions and movements. So, if a woman learns something, she craves for expressing it in some way. It is quite encouraging that nowadays, women have much more opportunities and prospects for the assertion of their individuality and talents. The services sector has increased the chances for women with its comfortable environment, where they can actively participate and excel, even from a distant place. Hence, if the focus is right, this issue will, hopefully, find its way towards a positive solution.

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In short we need revamp in all round corners with respect to working women’s lives. We need to help each other, join together in chorus to raise our issues, put them in a proposal to government for new legislations angled at improving working women’s lives.

1. Introduction

In India, men do not share on most of the household chores, it is women who have to cook, clean the house, do the dishes, wash clothes, get their children ready for school etc. Men just took care of few chores that are to be dealt outside the house. So the major burden of running the family is on the shoulders of women. It was alright for women to handle all the chores as long as they were homemakers. Now with their increasing need for getting some income for the family, they have to work all the more harder. They have to take up a 9 to 5 job plus handle all the household chores that they handled as a homemaker. Men’s role has not changed much.

The status of Indian women has undergone considerable change. Though Indian women are far more independent and aware of their legal rights, such as right to work, equal treatment, property and maintenance, a majority of women remain unaware of these rights. There are other factors that affect their quality of life such as age of marriage, extent of literacy, role in the family and so on. In many families, women do not have a voice in anything while in several families; the women may have a dominating role. The result is that the empowerment of women in India is highly unbalanced and with huge gaps. Those who are economically independent and literate live the kind of life that other women tend to envy about. This disparity is also a cause for worry because balanced development is not taking place.1

2. Objectives of the study:

  • To study the status of working women in India.
  • To study the problems faced by working women in India

3. Scope of the study:

The scope of the study is limited to the present status of working women in India

4. Review of Literature:

Hate (1978) in her book stated that there is positive change in the political, economics and social status of middle class working and non-working women living in four cities in Maharashtra with the advent of independence.

Robinson and Skarie (1980) in their article on stress of working women stated that in the area of stress and its relationship to locus control reveals that internally oriented individuals show less perception of role overload and role ambiguity

Chandrika (1982) in her study stated that in the last decade of the 20th century the spotlight fell on various specific issues of women, these include multiple feminine identity, gender and sexuality, feminization of poverty environment and sustainable development, planning and power globalization, sex tourism, sexual harassment at work place, Dalit women’s issues, tribal women and minority women’s problem, women’s rights as human rights, communal fascism, women and media. These yielded truly in depth analysis, studies and discussions and action programmers.

Seta Vaidayalingam (1994) discussed the problem and concerns of Indian women. According to working women are subject to more explanative problems and pressures then their non- working sisters. Finding a suitable occupation in the first problem right and proceeds it and of course fighting for the right amount of education to secure a decent job, tops it all, after having completed her education when a women steps the field of vocation are not quite correct, we find to be women’s staying capacity and the usual remarks is adequate. This kind of attitude spoils a women’s changes at all levels and particularly in the field of self -employment with a job come other problematic situations, kinds of people at work especially men. Number of lawyers do not encourage women simply because the later to level the office at about 6 p.m. in order to reach home early despite the fact that a busy lawyer’s office is at its best after 6 p.m. Single working women have the accommodation problem, if working in a city their families do not live with them. One has heard and read in the newspaper of the unfavorable conditions prevailing in hostels which in any case among to meet encouraged to need. My own mother has never done a day’s work despite having secured a medical education from the Madras Medical College.

Let us look at some of the basic problems faced by working women in modern-day India.

5. Status of Working Women in India

Status of Indian working women is far from being satisfactory..

6. Data Analysis & Interpretation

Most commonly used development indicators are work and employment as an economic empowerment measure for women via-avis men, participation in Decision Making in Administrative and Political power.

The status of working Indian women has been shown in Table 1 during the recent past of post independence period. From 1971-2001 the overall work participation rate for women has gone from 34.3 percent to 39.26 percent, just a marginal increase of 5 per cent over a long period of three decades. Ideal share in work participation of women should have been equal to sex ratio of women in the total population of the country. We are far away from this ideal even after 65 years of independence. Work participation in higher administrative posts is miserably low. Though there has been a cry for equal political participation for women in political decision making, barring a single exception of Women’s’ participation in Local Self Government bodies, the rate of women’s participation in state assemblies has hardly increase by .0.5 percent over the period of 15 years from 1985 to 2000 whereas the participation in MPs in Parliament has increase just by 4 per cent over a period of 20 years from 6.1 per cent to 10.1 per cent. Shall we be able to bring gender equality in near future? How long we should wait for bringing gender equality in real terms?

7. Problems of Working Women

Acceptance As Working Professionals

Most Indian men are yet to come to terms with the fact that women are also capable of working with them, shoulder to shoulder, in any field or professional sphere. They still visualize women as individuals who should be in charge of the kitchen and other domestic affairs.

Work is either seen as a temporary evil for women whose husbands do not earn enough, or the domain of women who do not “know their place.” As a result, Indian working women do not get the respect they require from their male colleagues in the workplace.

Balancing Work-Family Life

No matter how high their position or designation is in the office, women in India are still viewed as the family manager back home. They are expected to return home at a certain time, cook, clean and take care of family affairs.

In fact, men who help out around their house are often the butt of jokes by their male friends. This makes life extremely stressful for women who have little help around the house and have to do it all.

Travelling For Work is Not Acceptable

One of the problems faced by married working women is that they cannot travel or go on tours without having to answer uncomfortable questions by most of their friends and family. This is especially true for married women, who also have a flourishing career. Their professional obligations often depend on the support and understanding of family members.

A married man can go on long official tours outside his home city, without raising eyebrows and questions from his family members and peers, but his equally-successful wife would face disapproval. As a result, women often have to opt out of jobs than involve travel or settle for not being promoted as a result.

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Safety Of Working Women

The “nosey questions factor” aside, there is still the concern for safety of working women who need to travel on official business. Women travelling out of their home city for work trips are considered vulnerable and an easy target to fulfill the lewd intentions of their chauvinist male colleagues. Checking into a hotel alone is one of the problems faced by working women, even if the trip is purely official. Many hotels refuse to allot a room to a single woman (under strange pretexts) because of their own safety concerns or if a woman decides to stay alone, she is viewed with suspicion.

Unequal Pay

One of the raging topics of discussion in the context of problems faced by working women (not only in India, but also in many other nations) is that of equal pay. Legally, a woman is entitled to get the same salary as their male colleagues for the same kind of work done by them. However, gender discrimination is rampant as many companies still do not adhere to these guidelines and pay women less than their male colleagues.

Education

Though it is gradually rising, the female literacy rate in India is lower than the male literacy rate. Compared to boys, far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out. According to the National Sample Survey Data of 1997, only the states of Kerala and Mizoram have approached universal female literacy rates. According to majority of the scholars, the major factor behind the improved social and economic status of women in Kerala is literacy.

Under Non-Formal Education programme (NFE), about 40 Per cent of the centers in states and 10 Per cent of the centers in UTs are exclusively reserved for females. As of 2000, about 0.3 million NFE centers were catering to about 7.42 million children, out of which about 0.12 million were exclusively for girls. In urban India, girls are nearly at par with the boys in terms of education. However, in rural India girls continue to be less educated than the boys.

According to a 1998 report by U.S. Department of Commerce, the chief barrier to female education in India are inadequate school facilities (such as sanitary facilities), shortage of female teachers and gender bias in curriculum (majority of the female characters being depicted as weak and helpless).

Discrimination at Workplace

However, Indian women still face blatant discrimination at their workplaces. A major problem faced by the working women is sexual harassment at the work place. Further, women employees working in night shift are more vulnerable to such incidents. Nurses, for example, face this problem nearly every day. There is nothing that is done in hospitals to tackle and address the danger they face. Such blatant disregard of current Indian laws is one reason why sexual harassment at the workplace continues to increase.

Also, Indian women are often deprived of promotions and growth opportunities at work places but this doesn’t apply to all working women. A majority of working women continue to be denied their right to equal pay, under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and are underpaid in comparison to their male colleagues. This is usually the case in factories and labor-oriented industries.

Land and property rights

In most Indian families, women do not own any property in their own names, and do not get a share of parental property. Due to weak enforcement of laws protecting them, women continue to have little access to land and property. In fact, some of the laws discriminate against women, when it comes to land and property rights.

The Hindu personal laws of mid-1956s (applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains) gave women rights to inheritance. However, the sons had an independent share in the ancestral property, while the daughters’ shares were based on the share received by their father. Hence, a father could effectively disinherit a daughter by renouncing his share of the ancestral property, but the son will continue to have a share in his own right. Additionally, married daughters, even those facing marital harassment, had no residential rights in the ancestral home. After amendment of Hindu laws in 2005, now women in have been provided the same status as that of men.

In 1986, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Shah Bano, an old divorced Muslim woman was eligible for maintenance money. However, the decision was vociferously opposed by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, who alleged that the court was interfering in their personal law. The Union Government subsequently passed the Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights upon Divorce) Act.

Similarly, the Christian women have struggled over years for equal rights of divorce and succession. In 1994, all the churches, jointly with women’s organizations, drew up a draft law called the Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Causes Bill. However, the government has still not amended the relevant laws.

Crimes against women

Police records show high incidence of crimes against women in India. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in 1998 that the growth rate of crimes against women would be higher than the population growth rate by 2010.Earlier; many cases were not registered with the police due to the social stigma attached to rape and molestation cases. Official statistics show that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women.

Domestic Violence

Globally, one out of every three women faces violence at the hands of their husbands, Fathers, or brothers and uncles in their homes. Domestic violence can be described as when one adult in a relationship misuses power to control another through violence and other forms of abuse. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation and physical violence. Although men, women and children can be abused, in most cases the victims are women. In every country where reliable, large-scale studies have been conducted, results indicate that between 16 and 52 Per cent of women have been assaulted by their husbands/partners. These studies also indicate widespread violence against women as an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Such violence may also include rape and sexual abuse. Psychological Status of Women in India: Problems and concerns 25violence includes verbal abuse, harassment, confinement and deprivation of physical, financial and personal resources. For some women emotional abuse may be more painful than physical attacks because they effectively undermine women’s security and self-confidence. In India, violence within the home is universal across culture, religion, class and ethnicity. The abuse is generally condoned by social custom and considered a part and parcel of marital life. Statistics reveal a grim picture of domestic violence in India. The National Crimes Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India reports a shocking 71.5 Per cent increase in instances of torture and dowry deaths during the period from 1991 to 1995.

Dowry

Another serious issue in modern India is Courts are flooded with cases related to death due to dowry harassment by husband and in laws. In ancient times women were given ‘Stridhan’ when they departed from the house of their parents. This amount of money was given to her as a gift which she can use on her and her children but her in-laws did not have any right on that amount. This amount was supposed to help the girl in time of need. Slowly this tradition became obligatory and took the form of dowry. Nowadays parents have to give hefty amount in dowry, the in laws of their girl are not concerned whether they can afford it or not. If a girl brings large amount of dowry she is given respect and is treated well in her new home and if she does not bring dowry according to expectations of her in laws then she has to suffer harassment. Due to this evil practice many newly wed women of India have to lose their lives.

8. Conclusion:

Thus, while discussing the issues and concerns about working women, the main emphasis should be on the ‘opportunities for women’, as it is of utmost importance. Like every human being, a woman has a ‘natural desire for the expression of her inborn knack and abilities’; even a small baby shows his natural guts through his actions and movements. So, if a woman learns something, she craves for expressing it in some way. It is quite encouraging that nowadays, women have much more opportunities and prospects for the assertion of their individuality and talents. The services sector has increased the chances for women with its comfortable environment, where they can actively participate and excel, even from a distant place. Hence, if the focus is right, this issue will, hopefully, find its way towards a positive solution.

In short we need revamp in all round corners with respect to working women’s lives. We need to help each other, join together in chorus to raise our issues, put them in a proposal to government for new legislations angled at improving working women’s lives.

A couple of visibly clear steps the government can take to improving working women’s lives are:

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