Further Update: Well, earlier I thought the minister had overstepped himself and shot off his mouth. Looks like not. This retrograde move is being followed through seriously. Fellow Blogger Abhipraya updates that the government is actually getting the law amended to allow this monstrosity to pass.
My original post
So the Karnataka government (under whose jurisdiction I live, unfortunately), has decided that women will not be allowed to work night shifts, except in sectors such as ITES and hospitals. The ban is likely to come into effect from July. Now, this is the government, which stood by helpless as the city came to a halt after actor Rajkumar’s death, and which allowed a traffic light on top of a flyover. So one should not be surprised at any level of incompetency.
Still, the assumptions behind the move made my blood boil, when I read the headlines today. The streets are unsafe for women who work late at night. Bingo, put the women back where they belong, inside the four walls of home. Talk about punishing the victim. The move proposes that employers should either provide transport for women working late shifts, or move the women to other shifts, and if neither is possible, oh, ofcourse, they have to quit. Cos they are women, you see, they cant possibly need these jobs.
If the government is so worried about the safety of women, why not place the onus on the employers and make a night drop for all workers mandatory? And this can apply to men too. There have been enough cases of men being mugged and murdered on roads. How about taking the focus away from moral policing and shutting down bars at 11.30? These policemen could be deployed to make our roads safer. How about increasing the police strength in the first place? Everyone knows our police are horribly understaffed. Given more manpower, they will probably do a much better job. How about allowing private operators to run minibuses/vans? If smart operators see a market for transporting night-time workers, they will run vehicles. Today, there is no night-time public transport to speak of, when the government has a monopoly on it.
Ofcourse, implementing any of these will take time, money and work. All of which the government is reluctant to spend. In the meanwhile, you women, just stay at home and do us all a favor, will you!
Note: For those of you who insist that it is indeed unsafe for women, yes, thank you, we know that. Let individual women decide if the benefits outweight the risks to them. Or ofcourse the government can intervene in any number of other ways, as mentioned above. There are also a number of other jobs, which are extremely hazardous to men – working in mines, ship-breaking yards. No one suggests that these dangerous jobs should be outlawed, cos, gasp there are men working in these jobs, who need them