The Karnataka government's initiative towards allowing women in the night shift is a welcome step for it would not only increase job opportunities for the women but also put an end to the prevailing discrimination against them in this regard.
Under the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961, and the Factories Act, 1948 (a parliamentary Act), women are not allowed to work after 8 pm, till 6 am. Around a decade ago, the state amended the rules to allow women to work in the night shifts in the IT and IT-Enabled Services sectors. Now, the state looks to enable women workers in other sectors like manufacturing and service as well to work in the night, which has been welcomed by women business leaders.
Maharashtra, Haryana and Rajasthan have already lifted the restriction in the services sector and karnataka issaid to be first state to do so in the manufacturing sector.
It will benefit the sectors concerned besides the women employees
The step would also benefit the sector concerned, besides the employees. Women make up a substantial part (even more than half) in the garment and textile industries and once the restrictions are removed, those sectors would see their productivity rising after sunset.
The authorities had cited the security as the reason behind stopping the women from working in the night but the current initiative proves that asking women not to work in the night is not the solution to the problem and instead gives rise to other issues of disempowerment and narrowing down of employment opportunities.
But security is key in making the plan successful
The government must focus on improving the security culture so that the women feel assured both on the way to work and at the work place. The onus also lies on the firms now to back the women workers and also their children, if required. But the safety is a must requirement that the government and the employment authorities have to address if the entire idea of allowing women to work in the night succeeds and other states who are yet to take it up, feel encouraged.