Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
On more than one occasion in the past, attention has been directed to the need of women inspectors. So far, only one such appointment has been made, namely, in the Bombay Presidency. This officer has been largely employed in connection with the inauguration and inspection of creches in cotton mills and other factories employing an appreciable number of women, and her appointment has been instrumental in persuading a number of employers voluntarily to adopt welfare efforts of this kind among their women workers. The Indian factory worker is just beginning to realise the significance for himself of the factory inspector, and even now, owing to his lack of organisation and illiteracy, complaints made by workers direct to the inspectorate are few. Women workers are in this respect even less advanced than men, and are generally reluctant to address male officers. Moreover many of the special, yet remediable, disabilities from which they suffer will only come to light with the appointment of women inspectors. This was found to be the case in older industrial countries and must inevitably be so to an even greater extent in India, where almost every employed woman is married and of child-bearing age, and where social and other customs make the position of the woman worker less secure than in the West. The successful inauguration, as well as the adequate enforcement, of laws and welfare orders specially bearing upon the welfare of women and children such as those relating to maternity benefits, creches, etc., call for the services of trained women inspectors, and we are confident that in India, as in Great Britain, their appointment has only to be made to prove its justification. Nor need the work of women inspectors be confined entirely to women and children. There are a number of other duties falling upon factory inspectors (e.g., the checking of hours of work) which they could adequately discharge. Witnesses have suggested more than once that such women should invariably be medically qualified, and we understand that the Central Government also adopted this view. There are a number of excellent reasons for this suggestion, but no hard and fast rule to this effect should be laid down in the first instance. Consideration should be given to the selection of women with either medical degrees, or public health or social service diplomas and, if possible, also possessed of some years' practical experience in public work. We recommend that such women should be of Indian domicile and not younger than 26 years of age, and their remuneration should be on a scale calculated to attract and to hold the type of woman required for work which will necessitate initiative, resource and self-reliance, and in the first decade least, no small measure of pioneering enterprise. We are convinced the with the creation of such posts and the prospect of adequate remunration and secure status, the right type of candidate will be forthcoming The appointment of one such woman in every province is desirable but, in the event of this not being immediately practicable, we recommend their appointment forthwith in Bengal and Madras, and the appointment of part-time women officials in those provinces where the number of women and children employed in regulated industries is smaller. is to be hoped, however, that such part-time service will be for a limited, period only.