In the race of equality, we have forgotten its meaning regarding ‘equal respect.’ Treating women bus conductors in the same way as male conductors is not a solution to occurring problems. There weren’t any women bus conductors until 1980.
The problem is the line of comparison between men and women. When they say we treat women like men, it does not mean that you forget the duties a woman carries to her work. In late February 2021, BMTC women conductors requested reduced work hours. Earlier as well, women bus conductors have complained that their assistance in improving infrastructure and other facilities is not regarded. The supervisor took most decisions, and the promotion scenario is likable for male conductors. On the other hand, the complaint continued for denying women to leave for home during the rest hours. When a woman takes responsibility on her shoulders, the work does not matter only for payment, but the household duties suffer an increase.
The pandemic has made everything difficult altogether. However, earlier than the pandemic, women bus conductors did not have the privilege to take a break during their menstrual cycle or reach their children on time. In the revolution of equality, we forgot the treatment was not to be alike, but understanding considering the requirements of the individual. The gender pay gap even exists here.
One of the occupational problems women bus conductors face is the lack of awareness of the career opportunities in the sector. While gender stereotyping is one thing, the cultural attitude of male colleagues degrades the confidence of a woman. Also, less or no attention is paid to the work-life balance of women bus conductors that makes things even more difficult to surpass.
The lack of toilet facilities has been a significant problem for women bus conductors. Such lack often leads to physical harassment by not only male colleagues but also by passengers. The acceptance of women working as bus conductors seems not an accepted idea today.
I wholly agree with the statement said by the New India Express mentioned above. Until any breakthrough occurs, the union does not take a step to improve the conditions and the problems faced by the women bus conductors.