Challenges Faced by Working Women in India

She is a symbol of power, she stands out in hundreds, she possesses all the divine virtues and she is considered to be the most beautiful creations of God;She is a Woman!

It is only in the history of India where the women have been perceived as the resemblance of a Goddess in fact in the ancient times and specifically in the Indian mythological instances, woman has been conceived as purely a Goddess who possesses all the godly virtues and who administers her compassion, affection and wisdom for the welfare of others. Over the time this ethos has been modified and changed and moreover has been diluted under the immense influences of Male dominance, Patriarchal system of the society and rapidly increasing modernization in the nation as well as the world around. But here we are entirely focused upon the context of Indian Women. The conditions and situations of Indian women have been worsened rather getting better. A vicious chain of struggles, hurdles and many more other problems has become very traditional for the Indian women. Although it has been very much tough for the women in India, to survive after facing many hurdles, exploitation and discrimination still they are being persistent in their efforts and constantly trying to make their existence noticeable in the male dominated Indian society.

In India, today women are educated, they are already famous as being the best homemakers but they are now spreading their wings and their horizons out of the four walls of the house. They are also aspiring to become independent, they are also getting established like any other male entrepreneur and professional. Today Indian women are also being aware of their Rights and Privileges, they are also raising their voices for their Right to work, Right to maintenance and moreover for their Right to Equality. They also seek equality and fair decisions, they also wish to feel the joy of Freedom and Independence and there they begin to make efforts to realize all their aspirations.

Women of today are confident, they want to become self-reliant and they also want to contribute to their families and children not only in terms of physical and mental terms but also in terms of financial support. Although the overall scenario of Indian women is not so much praiseworthy because there is still a major percentage of women who are illiterate, unaware of their rights and duties, those who are living in rural areas and those whose social participation is totally nil, that surely needs a lot of interventions and improvements from our Governance, Society and of course the Indian women themselves.

In Indian context, women have always been considered best suitable for few particular tasks which only they can perform at best such as taking care of the family, childbirth and child bearing, giving the whole of their time and attention to the family members and the children. Since Indian society follows the Patriarchal system, it strictly confirms the dominance of the Males in the families, only the male is considered to be the prime doer & the breadwinner of the family. This system considers women as secondary party who perform the secondary functions of the family and the society. In fact in India, girls are being brought up in a very traditional way in which they are particularly trained by their mothers and other elder female members to become a devotee of her family and kids after her marriage. In many rural areas and Indian village, girls are strictly taught about their duties of sacrifice and commitment towards their family. They are not encouraged to acquire education rather home chores should be their top priorities. But we have just discussed that Indian women are persistently making efforts to improve their long created traditional picture and trying to advance their status in the society, hence they are enhancing their awareness and education and empowering themselves by becoming working women in their lives. And especially with the increased inflation rates in India it has become really difficult to earn the livelihood and to bear the family expenditures by depending all alone upon the income of one person hence the women of the family also show their kind concern to help their husbands in raising the family income.

Women living in the Urban areas are getting a bit freedom from their families they also get prestigious jobs as a result of their education and awareness whereas the women living in the rural areas are still limited to their daily household works and usually work as inept laborers. But precisely the life of a working woman is not cheesy, since she already has been facing many personal and social turmoils and problems, becoming a working woman adds to her already existing challenges in her life. Both married and unmarried women have their own levels of problems which they have to face when they move out of their homes to work. There are numerous of problems Indian working women have to deal with and moreover there is a tremendous pressure for creating a balance between the family and the work. Difficulties in the workplace, remuneration issues, security problems, gender biases, assaults and exploitations are among the major issues/challenges which the Indian working women have to struggle with.
We shall now ponder upon the major Challenges that the Indian Working Women do face in their day to day life which certainly make their jobs/works more arduous for them.

GENDER BIASES/DISCRIMINATIONS AT WORKPLACE

WomenGender biases begin to take place at a very early stage for the Indian women. First of all in the male dominated Indian society it is very much tough to accept the fact that even the women are also capable of working shoulder to shoulder with the men. Indian society has created preconceived notions that support male dominance in all the major and important tasks whereas the women are considered to be tender and weak and only capable of bearing lesser work pressure at the workplace. In India the potential and capabilities of women have always been underestimated in regard of their recruitments, salary issues and promotion issues. In fact, even if the woman is working, with many of the families her all salaries are given to her husband, father-in-law or elder member of the family and in a way her independence is basically on the superficial level. Indian working women have to face a lot of discrimination in their workplace which are usually gender biased. Males are always given preferences and priorities in comparison to female colleagues. Following are the few prime stages where Indian working women have to face the gender biases:

  • Recruitment  : even if the women are highly qualified there has already been done a stratification of work that keeps the females out of touch of certain jobs which require  outstanding intelligence/ hard physical labor/ alertness. Profession of teachers, nurses,gynecologists (doctors), secretaries, desk- managers or counselors are easily recruited to Indian women and taken as among the most suitable jobs for Indian women whereas jobs like of a manager, engineer, geologists, Para- military, administrators and other dignified jobs are primarily recruited to males of equivalent qualifications.
  • Salary issues : the Equal Remuneration Act 1976, professes equality in remunerations but it has seldom been exercised in fact Indian working women are usually underpaid. The preconceived notion that the women are less capable of working hard in comparison to their male counterparts, has deeply impacted the salaries or wages given to the women in India. Usually the women who work in Indian factories and labor oriented places, are generally paid lesser in comparison to their male colleagues.
  • Promotion concerns : since in India, there has been a deep influence of male dominance Indian working women have to go through a lot of struggle in order to visualize their growth and development. The male colleagues are indulged in a lot of politics and manipulations at the workplace against their women colleagues. The basic ideology of Indian society treats men being superior to women and when it comes to step on the ladder of success and growth there are already numerous of people who are ready to pull back the women colleagues at the same working place. Raising too much of voice in such an atmosphere might drag the woman into much more trouble hence they usually prefer to keep themselves safe and keep glued to their static designations and show lesser interest to get promoted in their careers.

BALANCING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE

 it is actually a very big challenge for the Indian working women to maintain a balance between their work and family. There are so many expectations of the family members and particularly from the kids. Since in India, women are primarily supposed to look after their families and kids, hence their career and professional aspirations are generally perceived as secondary and sometimes unessential by the family members. In majority of the families there is a lack of emotional and moral support given to the women. And there are also many official expectations that the women have to fulfill otherwise it is very easy to terminate and hire any new woman personnel.  In Indian families, women are already burdened with social and psychological ideologies of family members which ‘Expect’ them to be all rounder and perfect in all tasks and activities. And moreover it is a long age concept of the Indian society that the prime responsibility of a woman is to take care of her family and to become a perfect mother and a wife.

HARRASSMENT & ASSUALTS ISSUES

 over the time Indian working women have felt that it is not only  unsafe while travelling and moving out of their homes for their works but it is also unsecure to work at their own workplaces. There are many cases where women subordinates were asked for sexual favors from their male superiors in the return of the promotion and growth granted to them. The male superiors show that they have done some mercy or extra favour that should be repaid with much of a regard from the woman. In the corporate sector, women are usually treated as weak and vulnerable and hence the male colleagues and superiors think that they can take any kind of advantage of their female colleagues & subordinates. Many other kinds of attitudes like taunting, teasing, abusing and assault is also practiced against working women at their workplaces.

NEGLIGIBLE PERSONAL SPACE

 being a working woman in the Indian context is really not an easy going task. Women literally have to face many outcomes of the social and the psychological ethos of the society and the people. They must have to maintain a balance between their families and career if they truly do not want to slaughter their aspirations and dreams to achieve independence and success in their lives. And in this hassle and bustle women get restless. They try to increase the working power for which they are constantly working that further makes them lacking in sleep. Gradually they feel frustrated and helpless because they see no one to help and support them. They sometimes tend to feel isolated, and then they invite many emotional and psychological problems. Insomnia and depression are two major mental problems Indian working women usually being noticed to suffer with. They feel an immense lack of Personal Space. Their whole time remains not theirs at all. They feel unable to share their feelings with anyone because they know that no one will understand them. Under this psychological pressure at a point of time they are left with only two options; either to give up the job or to accept the depression as a part of their working life.

Time has come to Change the Mindset

IndianwomanIt is a high time now that the ethos and mentalities of the people and Indian society must change. Equality and Independence should not only be limited to papers but it should be brought into the practical aspects of life. Indian working women are truly living a challenging life where they encounter with many hurdles, social and psychological pressure of the people around them. A woman fully deserves respect, support, compassion and empathy, from her family and kids. When she is devotedly doing everything for her family then at least she should be rewarded with emotional and moral support. All she wants a little concern, respect and affection.  The Laws should be practiced strictly which provide total security, equal remuneration and a safe working atmosphere for the working women. There is a deliberate need to reshuffle the mindsets and beliefs of the family members, employers, colleagues and the public at large.

Image courtesy : http://www.hindu.com/mp/2007/03/08/images/2007030800730101.jpg
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