Discrimination against women was much more earlier than at present. It took many forms. A few incidents can be cited to understand how women were ill-treated and abused in the earlier days:
1. In P&T Department during British Rule, the Telephone Operators were not allowed to marry. There was a ‘No Marriage’ condition you have to agree to get the job and keep it. In some cases, one increment was given in lieu of marriage.It continued for some time even after India got independence. The women workers under the leadership of the then unions fought against it. After the adoption of the Constitution of India, this ugly condition became untenable. Gradually the condition was removed.
2. But the same condition continued in the Airlines for the Air Hostesses. It was only about two three decades back that after a court verdict, that this system was discontinued. However, the Airlines tried to ground them after certain years of service. Now that is also stopped.
3. The pharmaceutical and other private concerns in Bombay earlier had a clause in their employment contract that women employees should not marry. It was called the ‘no marriage clause’. The women workers went on struggle against this inhuman condition and these private managements were compelled to remove the same.
4.In USA, there was a provision for “Peep Holes” in wash rooms and offices in the Post Offices, through which the inspectors spied upon the postal employees. This was most degrading to the staff. A long drawn struggle and campaign was organised by the National Association of Letter Carriers in the 1950s, after which the authorities were compelled to discontinue the “peep holes” in Post Offices.
Times have changed much. But still the discrimination against women and girls continue in many ways. It is the responsibility of each and every one to fight against this discrimination and for equal justice for men and women.The working class should be in the front of this great struggle.