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No matter how hard we harp on about the progress we have made on paper, in terms of gender equality, the sad reality stands that even after 70 years of Independence, we have not been able to create a safe working place for our women. Despite the passing of the landmark judgment Vishaka vs State, by our Honorable Supreme Court of India, the guidelines have just been on paper and the women continue to be exploited at the workplace. First of all, they have to face the challenge to achieve basic education and sparse career choices. After they have crossed all the hurdles, they have to face the predatory environment of the work. Right from low wages, to sexual exploitation, they have to face many challenges. Even after they have somehow managed to do their work at the office, they have them to look after the house and all the household responsibilities. In terms of workload, they are under so much pressure that it affects their mental health.
The main issue with the problem lies in the fact that we don’t have efficient and effective legal policies in place. No doubt there are laws that care for the protection of women in the workplace, the reality is that they are hardly used because the whole legal process is very cumbersome. They generally do not raise their voice because they fear that they might lose the job or their family would not be allowed them to continue the job. We don’t have any mechanism to protect their jobs when a woman raises a complaint against the exploiter. If they raise the complaint, then they have to face the prospect of losing their job. We have to make women-friendly laws and procedures in order to help them to take legal actions.
After that, we have to ensure that the gender divide for gender roles that still continuing from ancient times needs to be changed. We have to realize that a working woman is not only responsible for taking care of the home. The male partner should also lend a helping hand towards them, they have to take equal responsibilities also. Lastly, we must ensure that women suffering from mental health issues are given proper platforms for health.