The Safety Measures

Article 66(b) of the Indian 1948 Factories Act states: no women shall be required or allowed to work in any factory except between the hours of 6 A.M. and 7 P.M. (Office of the Labour Commissioner, 2006). This defined the expected temporality attached with the women’s access to public space.

Any woman transgressing this temporality was to labeled as unrespectable woman. Only as of March, 2005, was this act amended to provide women the opportunity to work the night shift. This was done to cater the needs of BPO sector in India. However the responsibility of the transport of these women lied with the employer. This was to ensure the safety of these women while travelling on the roads during the night hours. Hence the first safety measure, taken in the paper is the ‘cab’ facility provided by the organization that how being a safety measure, it also contributes to the respectability of the women employees.

The rape and murder of a woman employee of BPO sector in Bangalore, India, in 2005 raised questions about the trustworthiness of the transportation provided by call centre organizations to its employees. The reaction to this came from the call center and BPO sector by implementing various protective measures to avoid such situation in future. Two important measures adopted were: (1) no woman should be picked up or droped off first, which means that whenever there is a woman in the cab with the driver, there has to be at least one male employee also present in the cab; and (2) if woman has to travel alone with the driver, a male guard should be present in the cab for the security of the woman employee. The paper has explored how apart from purpose of security the presence of male in the cabs adds into respectability of the agents.

The finding section is divided into two parts. The first discusses the BPO cabs and the second part discusses the presence of men (security guard and male employees) in the cabs.

Shelly Tara , Vignesh Ilavarasan