National Commission on Labour (1967)||
27.21 The outline of the perspective will be clearer if we first deal, more specifically with women's motivation for work and the social impediments that stand in the way. With a few exceptions in the higher strata of society, the majority of women take to work for economic reasons. A survey conducted under the auspices of the National Council of Women's Education in Delhi and Bombay in 1962 showed that women work, if they are required to do so, because of economic compulsions of the family. About 70 per cent of the women who responded to the enquiry considered it necessary to work in order to supplement family earnings. This was a common consideration with all unmarried women who in some cases were reported to be supporting an old father or widowed mother or an unmarried brother or sister. The attitude of the guardians of these women was passive no longer; they encouraged their wards to seek work. In higher income groups, the motivating force behind seeking work was utilisation of leisure, acquirement of vocational training and the desire to have one's own money. Another motivation reported by some respondents was that, in the view of their guardians, a working woman enhanced family prestige and got better prepared against unforeseen contingencies. The former indicates a change in social values as against the popular belief of the past against women employment for the very reasons of prestige.
27.22 The more important of the difficulties which come in the way of employment, however, are still—restricted mobility, inadequate training and housing facilities; the last concern more particularly single women. The guardians of women consider it unsafe to send their women wards away from their homes to take up work. Employment preferences of women workers continue to be for work locally available. Non-availability of housing facilities for
a single woman acts as a major deterrent for many women who aspire f'or employments other than those available in their local area, while transfer of location after marriage comes in the way of the stability of employment of married women.
27.23 In providing the perspective, we need not consider the rural context where women will take to work either paid or unpaid. We expect that in urban areas more and more women would be coming out of their homes to take up paid work because of spread of education, development of means of communication, growing desire to live better and consequent liberalisation of traditional social norms hitherto disfavouring women employment. Already, the waning joint family system is exposing the hitherto protected 'fair sex' to the vicissitudes of life. Earning female members are welcome in urban families and conditions are not likely to change in this regard in the foreseeable future; if at all, the welcome will be even more hearty. With an increasing number of girls going out for education, inhibitions regarding working with men are losing their hold. Improved household amenities and emphasis on smaller families will provide more leisure for being utilised in gainful occupations.
27.24 An important source of employment for women will be opened up with the enlarging of the welfare activities of the State consequent on the goals accepted for development. The social welfare institutions to be set up will offer employment openings for which women will be more suited. Another avenue to which women could look for will be in the institutions engaged in the development of social sciences and humanities. More of such institutions will be set up, since it has been widely recognised that the development of social sciences has lagged behind the advances made on the technological side. Social sciences institutes will require considerable assisting staff in using the new research techniques. Educated women will be suited for rendering assistance in collection and processing of information.
27.25 Our review of the employment pattern and job preferences of women is suggestive of coming changes in the occupational structure of women in the next two decades or so, particularly in the non-agricultural sector. Decline of women employment in factory and mining occupations requiring physical labour indicates not only a shrinking demand but also, to an extent, a tapering labour supply in these occupations in future. The latter is particularly borne out by the job preferences of women. The spread of education and training facilities will give further strength to such preferences. More and more women will be aspiring to become clerks, stenographers, secretaries, teachers and nurses. Expansion in business and governmental activities, we believe, will create more job opportunities of this nature.
27.26 As at present, in the industrial occupations, women will be looking for employments in skills which they have or will readily acquire. The technological changes and changes in production pattern have made it easy for women to acquire the limited skills necessary for a small fraction of a job which an operative is expected to handle. Women have made their place secure in chemical and pharmaceutical factories, in light engineering, and in factories which work for a variety of consumer goods. To the extent such industries develop, more of women will have employment openings, provided the basic training given to girls is so arranged as to fit into the perspective of development,
27.27 Skill generation and rational distribution of the women labour force as a part of social and economic planning, which would also reduce competition between men and women, are the widely recognised solutions to the problem of women's employment. We believe that with this orientation, it should be possible for an employer to follow a non-discriminatory policy in the employment of women. The additional cost, if any, we are sure, will be accepted by employers on wider social considerations.