The decision of BSNLEU to hold an All India Women’s Convention on 8th July 2017 at Hyderabad is to be appreciated. Telecom / BSNL have a large number of women employees. Being an operational service functioning through out 24 hours, women have their own special problems. Women comrades are very active in the organisation also. As such holding an All India Convention and forming a Women’s Committee will help the services, women themselves and also the organisation.
In this connection, I remember the holding of the first Women’s Convention in Kerala organised by the then E.III Union, Kerala Circle. The decision was taken in the Circle Conference held at calicut where a Mahila Session was organised. The Mahila Convention was held at Trichur on 28th October 1978. I was the Circle Secretary. When the proposal to hold the Mahila Convention was presented, many comrades felt that the participation will be very less and hence it was decided that at least two comrades from each division should participate. But what happened was a surprise. About 500 women comrades participated. The discussion was lively and the major demands of the women workers were identified and put in the form of a Charter. A Mahila Committee was also formed. Com.Suseela Gopalan, CPI(M) leader and M.P., Com.Rosamma Punnose, N.P.Padmanabhan, Convener of P&T Co-ordinating Committee, D.R.Mahajan, CGM and others participated. ( for further details, please read ‘ P&T TU Movement in Kerala by Com. P.V.Chandrasekharan).
The Mahila Committee met the Chief General Manager and presented the Charter of Demands and explained the demands. Most of the demands were agreed to by the CGM. Convenient dormitories, Creches, Rest room for ladies and other arrangements were made in almost all the exchanges and offices as per the demand.
The Mahila Committe still functions effectively in Kerala circle. Such committees function in some other circles also. But it is for the first time that a special meeting of the women is being organised at All India level with the intention of forming an All India Mahila Committee. This is welcome decision and will help in organising the women and taking up their problems.