Yet another move to ‘empower women’ is failing before our eyes, because authorities believe women should earn less than men.
All but one of the women bus conductors, trained by the Kudumbashree scheme in Kerala, have quit their jobs according to The Hindu. The women conductors are allegedly paid just over half of what men in the same job earn.
While the government claimed that 26 of the 90 women conductors are still on the job, a woman conductor who spoke anonymously to The Hindu had a different story to tell. She said that all except one had left the field.
“I worked for Rs. 300 a day for the initial three months, and after persistent demands, it was increased to Rs. 500. Then I was told that there would be no more wage hike despite putting in over 12 hours a day even as men were paid Rs. 800 to Rs. 900. So, I left after five months,” she said.
Those in charge, of course, have blamed the attrition on ‘long working hours’ and ‘issues at the workplace’.
“Unlike KSRTC bus stations, private bus stands have no comfort stations for women conductors, making life difficult for them. Often work starts as early as 5 a.m. and goes on till 9 p.m. which implies that only a few who live along the route of the services can manage it,” M.B. Satyan, president, Kerala State Private Bus Operators’ Federation reportedly said.
Kudumbashree has suspended the training programme, and is unlikely to revive it.