Women Workers In India: Ignored Section of Society

“There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved; it is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing.”
-Swami Vivekananda

India is a customary nation and there are differences in religions, culture, and traditions. In India, part of the women is restricted to family and residential issues. Now and again women can discover work as teachers, nurses, doctors, the caring and nurturing sectors. However, regardless of the possibility that very much qualified women designers or supervisors or geologists are accessible, the inclination will be given to a male of the same capability. Women are the ignorant section of society.

Women are an important segment of our society, both by their number and the hours they spend at work in the home and the firm. They share plentiful duty and play out a wide range of obligations but their participation is accepted as normal and very little economic and social esteem is put on their work. Their monetary and economic well-being is grim. Women have dependably been ignored in the Indian culture from the time immemorial and such gender discrimination is becoming more and more obvious in the the present-day society which is claimed to be a civilized one.

The issue of Unemployment, Poverty, Economic Inequality, Gender segregation, Lack of Proper Education and so forth, which are the part and parcel of society, prevail mostly in women. In spite of the fact that gender discrimination has been banned by the constitution and women have been guaranteed political equality with men, yet there is a difference between constitutional rights and rights enjoyed in reality by women. At the point when contrasted with man’s position, the Indian woman has dependably been ruled by man, setting the lady in a subordinate position. She has dependably been looked down and has been dealt with as second rate compared to man in matters of rights and benefits.

In India women are considered as auxiliary residents with no autonomy of any kind. Since hundreds of years, known and obscure women were the objectives of social abuse and subordination, women work for the same number of hours as men do, if not more; yet their work is considered "shadow work" giving them neither the due credit nor rise to pay for the work done. Women assume a basic part in the family and group as real supporters of family salary both in country regions and urban ranges.

There are also some problems which are faced by working women-

1. Today, almost all working women are prone to sexual harassment irrespective of their status, personal characteristics and the types of their employment. They face sexual harassment on way on transports, at working places, educational institutions and hospitals, at home and even in police stations when they go to file complaints.

2. Indian women still face conspicuous discrimination at their working environments. They are regularly denied promotions and growth opportunities at work places yet this doesn’t have any significant bearing to all working women. A majority of working women keep on being denied their entitlement to equivalent pay, under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and are come up short on in contrast with their male colleagues.

3. There is no safety of working women while travelling. Normally, the standard attitude in the Indian culture makes it troublesome for a working woman to adjust her household condition with the expert life. In a few families, it may not be satisfactory to work after six o’clock. Those families that do acknowledge these working hours may encounter extensive nervousness consistently about a woman’s wellbeing while at traveling. So many issues affect a working woman because she is closely protected or watched by her family and the society.

4. At times, the family doesn’t bolster women to leave the family work and go to office. They additionally oppose for women working till late in office which likewise hampers the execution of the women and this likewise influences their advancement. Inadequate maternity leave is another real issue that is confronted by a working mother. This not just influences the execution of women representatives at work, but on the other hand is unfavorable to their own lives.

5. Particularly in the season of corporate rearrangements, which in some cases puts undesirable and irrational weights on the representative, can be a colossal wellspring of stress and enduring. Expanded workload to a great degree long work hours and extreme weights to perform at pinnacle levels all the ideal opportunity for a similar pay, can really leave a worker physically and candidly depleted. Exorbitant travel and an excess of time far from family additionally add to a representative’s stressors.

6. Conforming to the work environment culture, regardless of whether in another organization or not, can be strongly unpleasant. Making oneself adjust to the different parts of work environment culture, for example, correspondence examples of the supervisor and the colleagues can be lesson of life. Maladjustment to working environment societies may prompt unobtrusive clashes with associates or even with bosses. By and large office legislative issues or babbles can be real anxiety inducers.

7. For years women have been working in hospitals, in the telecom division and in the fish preparing industry during the night shift. In the time of globalization, the quantity of women working the night shift is expanding with call focuses and send out situated organizations situated in the Export Processing Zone utilizing women in huge numbers amid the night shift, without giving legitimate insurance or transport offices to them.

8. One of the basic risks confronted by the regular workers is the expanding danger to employer stability, which thus contrarily impacts the strength of female workers. Among the laborers in the casual division countless are women, who have no employer stability. They are frequently incompetent laborers who get low wages. Accessibility of work is unpredictable; and when work is accessible, women must work extend periods of time. It is not just in the disorderly area or in little ventures, additionally in the cutting- edge areas like the Information Technology and the vehicle parts whereworking women are compelled to labor for 12 hours while the neighborhood governments overlook this open ridiculing of the work laws. The instabilities of getting work and the desperate need to hold a position amidst serious rivalry cause mental strain.

Unemployment, underemployment and impermanent work are more typical among women than among men. This subset of workers doesn’t have any government managed savings or social insurance benefits. These prompts, the business-related ailments, which they experience the ill effects of, stay covered up. Besides, long haul unemployment constitutes a genuine hazard for the worker’s emotional stability, because it leads to poverty and deteriorates self-image and self-e.

Women’s rights are secured under the Constitution of India — mainly, equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination; further, India has various statutes governing the rights of women.

The directive principles of state policy enshrined in part-iv of the constitution require the state frame its worker policy in such a way congenial to the reasonable requirements of workers as human beings in a civilized and socialistic society. The preamble to the constitution of India established the equality of status and opportunity to all its citizens. Under the directive principles of state policy, it has been expressly provided that the state should grant the right of equal opportunity with regard to employment to men and women without any discrimination. It is further provided in Article 15 of the constitution of India that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of sex and at the same time power is vested in the state to make any special provision for the protection of women and children. An attempt has accordingly, been made to protect the legitimate rights of the women, especially women workers. Many special provisions have been made in labor laws for the protection of women laborers.

Furthermore, some social privileges are given to Women-

1. There should not be any discrimination between woman and man while giving jobs and employment.

2. There should be respect and dignity towards Women.

3. Have add up to freedoms of their own life and lifestyle inside the home and furthermore outside at their work.

4. They should have a high social respect in society.

5. They should have a high social respect in society.

6. They have equal rights in society and other judicial works.

7. They ought to have safe and secured Working area with legitimate protection.

8. They ought not be discriminated while giving any sort of training.

9. They ought to choose their own particular monetary and budgetary decisions by their own.

In spite of the presence of sacred arrangements for the assurance of women workers, they experience the ill effects of different issues. Countless in the sloppy division confront numerous issues, for example, gender it discrimination, low wages, unequal wages, unemployment, under-business, irregular working conditions, exploitation and harassment in the hands of the employer, and so on. So, it becomes a necessity to enact some statute for the betterment of women workers.

The government of India have made repeated attempts through their policy declaration, from time to time, for the upliftment of women in the country as a whole. Several legislation have been added to their various statute books which are exclusively aiming at the solution of the women’s problems.

Provisions made under the Constitution of India-

1) Right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees that the State shall not deny equality before the law and equal protection of the laws; “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.

2) Equal pay for equal work under Article 39(d), guards the economic rights of women by guaranteeing equal pay for equal work.

3) Maternity Relief under Article 42, allows provisions to be made by the state for securing just and humane condition of work and maternity relief for women.

4) Article 44 directs the State to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil Code applicable throughout the territory of India. Its goal is towards the achievement of gender justice. Even though the State has not yet made any efforts to introduce a Uniform Civil Code in India, the judiciary has recognized the necessity of uniformity in the application of civil laws relating to marriage, succession, adoption, divorce, maintenance, etc. but as
it is only a directive it cannot be enforced in a court of law. However, one of the most dynamic members of the Assembly, Shri K.M. Munshi, expressed his opinion that: “if the personal law of inheritance, succession, etc. is considered as a part of religion, the equality of women can never be achieved.”


The Factories Act, 1948 (“factories Act”)

The Factories Act is a legislation to secure to the workers employed in a factory, health, safety, welfare, proper working hours, leave and other benefits. The Factories Act aims at protecting workers employed in factories from unfair exploitation by their employers.

The Factories Act also has exclusive provisions for women workers.

1. The Factories Act stipulates the day by day and week after week hours of work for every single grown-up specialist. It likewise accommodates additional time pay to laborers who work past the endorsed hours of work.

2. It additionally contains arrangements relating to interims or rest period amid a working day, week after week off, yearly leave, and so forth.

3. For the most part in production lines it is watched that work occurs on a shift premise, and there are necessities for laborers to work amid night shifts. Be that as it may, night shifts require to be on a rotational premise. Advance, shift timings and hours of work is required to be settled in advance by the administration and showed on the notice leading body of the processing plant.

4. No lady laborer might be permitted to work in an industrial facility aside from between 6 a.m. what’s more, 7 p.m. The State Governments may by notice change the cutoff points as set out in this point, yet in no situation will women representatives be permitted to work between 10 p.m. also, 5 a.m.

5. The shift timing of a lady laborer can’t be changed aside from after a week by week occasion or whatever other occasion. Thus, women workers are qualified for get no less than a 24 hour see for their day of work timing change.

6. There are denials for women laborers to work in a dangerous occupation, in squeezing cotton where a cotton opener is grinding away, and cutoff points to the most extreme reasonable load.

7. The Factories Act likewise stipulate the businesses utilizing at least 30 women specialists to accommodate cheches for offspring of the women laborers, matured 6 years and underneath.

8. There are different offices which are required to be given to specialists in a plant, for example, washing and showering offices for women, toilets (restroom and urinals isolate for women), rest-rooms and flasks.

The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (“Maternity Benefit Act”)

The Maternity Benefit Act is an Act to regulate the employment of women in every factory, plantation or mine, irrespective of the number of employees, and to all shops and establishments employing or having employed 10 persons or more. The Maternity Benefit Act was enacted to bring a uniform code for maternity benefit to women workers across industries.

The Act provides for inter alia the following benefits:

1. 12 weeks paid maternity leave and advantage for any female representative, who has worked for a business for over 80 days in the 12 months instantly going before the conveyance date. The advantage for 12 weeks as stipulated under law, of which not over a month and a half ought to go before the date of her normal conveyance.

2. 1 month’s paid leave where a female worker experiences any sickness emerging out of pregnancy, conveyance or premature delivery.

3. A female worker is likewise qualified for restorative reward Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3500, if no pe-natal control and post-natal care was given by the business.

4. On the off chance that a lady bites the dust amid labor, the maternity advantage will be payable for the days up to and including the day of her demise. In the occasion the kid additionally kicks the bucket post the demise of the mother, then the advantage ought to be paid till the date of the passing of the youngster.

5. The measure of maternity advantage for the period going before the date of her normal conveyance should be paid ahead of time, upon the representative indicating confirmation that she is pregnant, and the sum due ensuing to conveyance to be paid inside 48 hours of the evidence appeared by the worker that she has conveyed.

6. In case of the passing of the worker because of labor, the maternity advantage must be given to the individual assigned by the representative, and without a chosen one to her lawful beneficiaries.

There are sure confinements forced on the businesses which are as per the following:

7. No business might intentionally utilize a lady in any foundation amid the a month and a half instantly taking after the day of her conveyance, or unnatural birth cycle or restorative end of pregnancy.

8. No lady should work in any foundation amid the a month and a half quickly taking after the day of her conveyance, or unsuccessful labor or therapeutic end of pregnancy.

9.  No lady should work in any foundation amid the a month and a half quickly taking after the day of her conveyance, or premature delivery or medicinal end of pregnancy.

10. No pregnant lady should, on a demand being made by her for this benefit, be required by her manager any exhausting nature, or which includes extend periods of time of standing, or which is any way is probably going to meddle with her pregnancy or the ordinary advancement of the baby, or is probably going to make her premature delivery or generally unfavorably influence her wellbeing.

11. At the point when a female worker is on her maternity leave, the business can’t end her administrations.

The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 (“Equal Remuneration Act”)

We  come across discussions and instances of pay discrimination, where women workers are getting paid lesser than their male counterparts. This is a story across the globe, even in developed nations. Article 39 of our Constitution directs that States shall in particular have policies towards securing equal pay for equal work for both men and women.

Under the Equal Remuneration Act

1. Employers shall pay equal remuneration to its male and female
employees who are carrying out the same or similar work.

2. Employers cannot discriminate between men and women while
recruiting, unless there is a restriction under law to employ women in
certain industries.

Shops and Establishments Acts (“SEA”)

The State Governments order their particular shops and foundations act, directs the working states of representatives in a shop or business foundation. The SEAs accommodate different arrangements including arrangements relating to (a) see period for end, (b) leave qualification, and (c) working conditions like week by week working hours, week by week off, additional time and so forth. The Maharashtra Shops and Establishment Act, 1948 (“MSEA”) is the pertinent law if there should arise an occurrence of foundations in the condition of Maharashtra and keeping in mind that the Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954 is the appropriate enactment if there should be an occurrence of foundations situated in the condition of Delhi. In any case, because of the way of work of specific ventures, they may require their female representatives to work past as far as possible, for which they should take earlier authorization from the experts. The endorsements for permitting women to work late evenings dependably accompanies uncommon conditions and commitments, with respect to the business, for example, giving a protected workplace, giving sufficient security amid the night hours, give transport to their home after the late working hours, women representatives ought to be set in a gathering while at the same time working at evenings and not the only one, and so forth.

The IT division has seen an exponential development in the current past and thissegment is one which ordinarily has an enormous labor. We see measure upto number of men and women working in the IT segment, and they work late into the evenings for their day of work, because of taking into account nations over the globe, with changed time contrast. So as to address the security of women workers in this part, aside from the arrangements under the SEA, the State Governments have their free IT/ITES approaches, which address the issues of women working night shifts and the different measures to be attempted by the business to guarantee their wellbeing.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“SHA”)

Sexual harassment at workplace is not uncommon, there are various cases dealing with harassment in the workplace. India finally enacted its law on prevention of sexual harassment against female employees at the workplace in 2013. The statute was enacted almost 16 years after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, in the matter of Vishaka and othersv. State of Rajasthan (“Vishaka Judgment”) The Vishaka Judgment laid down guidelines making it mandatory for every employer to provide a mechanism to redress grievances pertaining to workplace sexual harassment and enforce the right to gender equality of working women (“Guidelines”). Till the enactment of the SHA, organizations were expected to   follow the guidelines, but in most instances, they fell short. The enactment of the SHA has brought the much-needed relief to the women workforce. The definition of sexual harassment in the Sexual Harassment Act is in line with the Supreme Court’s definition in the Vishaka Judgment 2 and includes any unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) such as;

  • physical contact and advances
  • demand or request for sexual favors,
  • sexually colored remarks,
  • showing pornography,
  • Or any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

Apart from dealing with complaints, an employer has additional obligations in the nature of:

  • providing a safe working environment,
  • display conspicuously at the workplace, the penal consequences of indulging in acts that may constitute sexual harassment and the composition of the ICC,
  • organize workshops and awareness programs at regular intervals for sensitizing employees on the issues and implications of workplace sexual harassment and organizing orientation programs for members of the Internal Complaints Committee.
  • treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for misconduct.

Panchayati Raj Institutions

According to the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, all the neighborhood chose bodies hold 33% of their seats for women. Such an arrangement was made to build the successful investment of women in legislative issues.

Women’ Reservation Bill

It is a pending Bill in India which proposes to hold 33% of all seats in the Lok Sabha and in all State Legislative Assemblies for women. On the off chance that passed, this Bill will give a huge lift to the position of women in legislative issues.

Different Government Policies and Schemes

The Government of India is running different welfare plans and arrangements, both at State and Central levels for the strengthening of woman. A portion of the significant projects and measures incorporate Swadhar (1995), Swayam Siddha (2001), Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP-2003), Sabla Scheme (2010), National Mission for Empowerment of Women (2010) and so forth. All such approaches and projects concentrate on social, monetary and instructive strengthening of women crosswise over different age bunches.


India’s largest public employment program, resulting from the enactment of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in 2005, has resulted in higher female labor force participation. Propelled as one of the world’s biggest employment programs, MNREGA offers 100 days of ensured wage work in each budgetary year for all registered unskilled manual workers (both women and men. The MNREGA includes pro-women provisions as it seeks to ensure that at least 33% of participating workers are women, and stipulates equal wages for men and women. In addition, there are also provisions for facilities such as childcare at worksites, so as to reduce the barriers to women’s’ participation (Government of India, 2014). As well, there are other aspects of the MNREGA that may make such work attractive for women, for example, the stipulation that work is to take place within 5 kilometers of an applicant’s residence.

Henceforth, women’s Work force participation and access to decent work are imperative and fundamental components of a comprehensive and economic development process. Additionally, lessening sexual orientation boundaries to work is essential to advancing women’s monetary strengthening. The acts of gender discrimination, alongside different types of social separation, are not just “backward” practices that will be washed away by capitalist progress, but instead have turned into the base on which the financial aggregation process rests. This brings cultural, social,
economic and educational differences which push country back. Women keep on facing numerous hindrances to entering the labor market and accessing decent work, including care responsibilities, lack of skills, limited mobility and safety issues, among others. Women experiences a scope of various difficulties identifying with access to employment, decision of work, working conditions, business security, wage equality,
separation, and adjusting the contending weights of work and family obligations.

The best solution to kill such devil is making women engaged by guaranteeing the Right to Equality specified in the Constitution of India. The Department of Women and Child Development works well in this field for the best possible advancement of the women.

Shefali Gupta

Written By: Shefali Gupta 

A student of Amity law school, having interest in corporate laws.

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