How dreams of freedom are shattered for working women in small-town India

Source: The post is based on an article “How dreams of freedom are shattered for working women in small-town India” published in The Indian Express on 30th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2

Relevance: problems associated with the employment of women

News: Urban cities are the hope of social and economic independence for young girls.

However, the murder of 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari in Uttarakhand has shattered the dreams of many young girls all over the country.

This has generated a fresh wave of anxiety and fear in the minds of girls who have such dreams.

Why do young girls migrate to urban cities and what are the problems associated with it?

They generally migrate in the search of employment. Some girls require to support their family with their incomes.

However, migration to big cities is a hard task for those coming from the economically weaker section of society. There are difficulties in finding jobs and places to stay.

Therefore, service sector jobs in small towns are the only option to for such women. However, there are other concerns associated with employment of women.

What are concerns associated with the employment of women?

Low participation: There has been low participation and a decline in women’s employment.

However, in urban areas there has been a long-term trend of more women in employment but there is discrimination.

Discrimination: Women’s employment shows concentration in a few occupational segments and sectors.

This shows the broader discriminatory components of the urban labour market and the manner of women’s exclusion/inclusion in urban employment.

Education: There is also more focus on the employment of younger aged girls who are educated.

Therefore, those women who migrate and are not educated end up with domestic work and informal services which are highly unregulated.

Low wages: These women are further forced to face the gender discrimination and their jobs also do not pay them. Those jobs are temporary but serve a purpose for them to earn and support their families.

Accessibility: According to Centre for Women’s Development Studies, many women reported their difficulty in accessing employment in urban areas.

Lack of awareness and laws: There is also lack of awareness of rights of women and laws on sexual harassment which leaves women on the hands of the employers.

There are other issues such as lack of adequate information of the job, conditions of work among others are the problems faced by the women.

There were also report on non-uniform wage rates, the absence of defined working hours, incidences of violence and harassment including sexual harassment.

Society: Girls often face many challenges like convincing their families and societies to migrate in the search of jobs.

All of these factors force young women to put up with hostile workspaces and insecure working conditions.

Further, such crimes will also discourage their hope to attain self-dependency and economic freedom.

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