A committee of legislators recently presented a new proposal according to which female employees should not be made to work in the night shifts, and also companies must avoid asking its female employees to work at night shifts. 

 

This proposal has received some backlash from civil society as well as activists for being regressive. They fear that if implemented, this will reduce workplace for women. 

 

Meanwhile, the chairman of the legislators’ committee, NA Haris, reportedly stated that women do more household work and are involved more the child care. He stated that women have families and children to take care of and also that women bear the more moral responsibility to raise the future generation. On the other hand, he said men have the greater responsibility to protect women.  

 

Haris further added that since the government wants to create a safer society, this can be achieved by not forcing women to work on night shifts. 

 

Now, this proposal has multiple flaws that make at regressive and also against gender equality. First, in the present times, the various sector of work has different work timings including late night shifts. If implemented, the companies will be restricted to hire only male employees. 

 

Second, companies at the time of recruitment provide all the details of work conditions to which the potential employee agrees to or disagree to. Any disagreement is sorted through negotiation, and the job seeker always has a choice of calling it quits when they want. 

 

Third, rather than asking to not force the female employees to work on night shifts, companies should be asked to provide better security and to take responsibility for the safety of female workers. That is a much better way to ensure a safer society. Shifting the opus of women safety on women is not the solution to the bigger problem.

 

Fourth, this recommendation reasserts patriarchal mindset by stating that women have a bigger responsibility towards family or that moral responsibility of grooming the future generation is bigger on females. Both genders are equally responsible for a better tomorrow and raising better children. 

 

Apart from the bigger cause of worry is the fact that this might reduce women workforce drastically in the IT capital of India. According to National Sample Survey (68th Round) published last year the number of working women in India is steadily falling and this may further add to the reason for quitting jobs.

 

Also, this proposal is against the Karnataka government’s decision that removed work restriction on women to create equal opportunity for both genders. In fact, to achieve the same Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 and the Factories Act 1948 amended to readjust work schedule.