A committee of Legislators has proposed that women should be spared night shifts and companies should not call them to work at night in Karnataka.
This proposal has not triggered the protest from women employees as well as activists who have called it regressive and argued that if accepted, it will shrink the space of women in workplaces.
The Chairman of the Committee, NA Haris have claimed that women have a lot of other things to take care of; they have to take care of the house and are more involved in child care.
He told the media, “A woman has a greater social responsibility than everyone else. She is going to groom the next generation and has maternal responsibilities. If a woman is working in the night, it could result in the neglect of the child as the mother and the child can’t meet”.
He added, “a man can assist his wife, but can’t become a mother and vice versa.”
He said, “It is easy to talk, but we have to understand that the social responsibility of each member of the family relies more on the woman”.
The committee also said that safety of women is another concern during night shifts. “As men, we have more responsibility towards the safety of women. This is not an issue of old-fashioned, new-fashioned,” said Mr Haris.
The proposal has perplexed both the employers and employees. One of the entrepreneurs, Mohandas Pai said, “Tomorrow they will tell a woman to stay at home and bear children. It is none of their business. It shows a feudalistic, paternalistic mindset which is very sad in this modern era”.
Mr Pai added, “There are around five lakh women employees among the 15 lakh IT workers in Bengaluru, such a bizarre proposal may force employers to think twice before hiring women. Women have fought their way up and penetrated the job market. Now if you put all these restrictions, employers will be hesitant to hire a woman.
Amrin, A freelancer said, “Women can manage both — work and family– with ease, I don’t have anyone around me… We understand where we have to draw the line so I don’t think we need anyone to protect ourselves other than us.”