Proving security produces respectability, no safety

The transport arrangements by the organization play a substantial role to contribute in the respectability of the women employees when they step- out in the night hours. The paper attempted to analyze the safety measure and the transport arrangement in the light of the respectability framework.. The role of the cab as a trust building factor becomes more crucial in the backdrop of the Indian patriarchal society where the mobility of a woman during night hours is not encouraged.

With the new workplace temporalities, there is a demand for trusted allies to accompany women during the night travel. This demand is fulfilled by deploying the cab as an interface of trust between parents and employers. The other men like security guard or male colleagues are witnessing each other’s conduct with women during the night hours. The cab mates posing as witness to each other’s conduct also witness the conduct of men outside the cab, which prevent any harassment for women during the night travel. Apart from witnessing the conduct of men inside and outside, the cab also projects a reliable image to the external society which observes the women agents who are traversing the urban space at night. The neighbors tend to believe the employment of women being a reputed one if they travel by the cab. Otherwise, women using other mode of transportation in the night are associated with disrespectful employment.

The relation of ‘purpose and respectability’ established in the earlier studies seems insufficient to analyse the public space access of women working in call center, during night hours. The paper suggests that ‘temporality’ acquires the definitive differentiating factor in this context. The factor of temporality has been addressed by adoption of safety measures by the BPO sector. However, the paper has found that these safety measures play twin-fold role. On one hand they play the function of providing some tangible security to their women employees. On the other hand, they also contributed in the production of respectability for the women employees during their travel in the night hours. Thus the paper puts forth that the manifest function of proving security also entails the latent function of producing respectability, while the issues of safety still remaining intact.

Shelly Tara , Vignesh Ilavarasan