The Indian Economy Blog

September 27, 2005

Disempowering Women

Filed under: Human Capital,Labour market,Outsourcing — Amit Varma @ 3:34 am

The Times of India reports that “[the] Haryana government has sent notices to Gurgaon-based call centres asking them not to allow women employees on night shifts.”

Do I even need to comment on this depressing, regressive move? One of the biggest indicators of a society’s progress is the empowerment of women, and although women are still treated as a sub-species in most of the country (and all of rural India), at least in this one sector they are on par with men. According to the ToI report women constitute 40 percent of the workforce in Gurgaon-based call centres — and, I would imagine, the numbers are similar through the BPO industry in India. Do some people feel threatened by this?

Well, back to the chulha. Shame on all of us. We elect the government, and we allow it to be oppress its citizens like this, with the money we pay as taxes. Maybe we should be more demanding?

There’s a cost to industry here as well. But the cost to society is greater.

Update (September 29): The Economic Times reports that the government action was not against the entire BPO industry in Gurgaon, but only against two companies, because they omitted to comply with some needless bureaucratic regulation.

Or maybe they didn’t grease the right palms?


  1. ‘Protecting women’ in India

    We know that well-meaning regulations often damage people they were intended to protect. Strong prohibitions on firing workers, for example, make employers reluctant to hire, and particularly to take a chance on inexperienced workers.Saddening to hear …

    Trackback by PSD Blog - The World Bank Group - Private Sector Development — September 27, 2005 @ 8:25 am

  2. [...] a sudden setback from an unexpected quarter – implying less opportunities for women report The Indian Economy and Within / Without. Neha Viswanathan   &laqu [...]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » India: Can’t work at night — September 27, 2005 @ 11:39 am

  3. [...] 38; Society, Economics at 12:19 pm by Vulturo That, is exactly what the Haryana Government is doing by barring call centers from [...]

    Pingback by DesiPundit » Disempowering Women — September 27, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

  4. Pasted below is a clarifying report from the Asian Age. The little boy has been crying wolf again.

    ‘No notice to call centres on women’

    Chandigarh: The Haryana government on Tuesday denied that any call centre in the state had been served notices against allowing women employees to work night shifts.

    Describing a report in an English daily as “mischievous and baseless”, a state government spokesperson said, “Contrary to the news report, the government had in fact granted permission to 17 call centres permitting them to employ women for night duty.”

    The spokesperson added, “Any establishment which applied for such exemption from Section 30 of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958, was liberally granted this permission, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions laid down under the law. Only a few call centres where the managements had failed to comply with the prescribed conditions and procedures had been denied such exemption.”

    Comment by Sanjay — September 27, 2005 @ 9:08 pm

  5. This is a great site and will help me with my economics final paper. Thx guys!

    Comment by dave — December 12, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

  6. I wonder what is more archaic in the 21st century India, the attitude to women and thier rights or the
    lack of objectivity in journalism. Stories of bride burning and selective female abortion find their place alongside those of the IT revolution with the same hype. If the Haryana government has refused permission to anyone to employ women because their safety cannot be ensured then isn’t that the issue issue to be addressed and highlighted ?

    Comment by valley — December 27, 2006 @ 12:07 am

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