Women’s day special: a tribute to our female warriors

Women have always been viewed as the nurturer of the country’s youth and caretakers of the elderly. Such rigid gender assignment has acted as an encumbrance to employment. The shackles of patriarchy wounded them to reach the skies and kept their feet on the ground bounded by four walls. This regressive lifestyle has become a choice, they say, when in reality there’s nothing to choose from. The choice is to be an ideal woman or to be an example of what an ideal woman is not. Society’s definitions, restrictions, and expectations have scarred the minds of young girls and we still cease to believe the day will come when the realization will bloom from the wraps where it had seated for too long and if it really comes, then that would be the day of the revolution, the new beginning. Gender equality, we all preach, but the inclusion of all humankind is still a task to comprehend. Women of the upper class still enjoy the upper hand in life, but among all the preaching for women’s rights, we forget to give enough attention to our domestic helpers, who lead a burdoned and redundant life. These unsung heroes are not valued enough and their existence is not acknowledged.

Did you know that there are over four million domestic workers in India and their average income on a daily basis is only around ₹ 300 without even a day’s rest? Shocked, right? Now imagine that along with such low income levels, they have very limited social protections, and commonly suffer from poor working conditions, exploitation, abuse, and slavery. The workers are slow to get recognition as workers and there are no laws and policies to regulate and protect workers employed in this sector. A large number of these women migrate from states like Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa. Most of them come from vulnerable communities, lower caste, or ethnic minority communities. Many of them are Dalits or come from other disadvantaged castes and tribal minorities; many are landless, which increases their vulnerability and disempowerment. Most of the domestic workers are either completely illiterate or literate enough to just write their names. They are not aware of the various laws regarding violence, molestation, and other abusive behaviors. When asked about sexual violence, they go silent. Among others, bonuses, appraisals, and allowances are also some issues. But these domestic workers continue to work with all these struggles for years.

We can quote various factual, statistical, and psychological arguments when it comes to promoting rights and conserving the interests of women help workers. There have been numerous schemes, projects as well as campaigns aimed to empower women workers but a constant need to provide them with additional opportunities for work remains. Furthermore, women workers have been neglected for a long time with regards to creating a sphere of suitable working conditions, appropriate wages, and pay healthy social inclusion and opportunities for skill development. 

Is there a solution?  

Well, in case of a prevailing and widespread issue like this, the solution also has to be of a recurring and spontaneous manner. To uplift the whole community of working women, we need to address the issue at its core. Organizing the workforce into managed communities, ensuring workshops to enhance vocational skills, and providing them with safe and healthy working conditions can make a difference. To enhance their income, upcoming social projects on the ground level and CSR initiatives also need to employ more women. The only way we can achieve a gender-inclusive professional society is through combined efforts by the concerned communities and the privileged.