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More women burn midnight oil: Study

The women working on night shift in BPO constitute over 40 per cent of the total workforce in the sector.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 11:29 IST

The information technology enabled services have done to India what fast track manufacturing did to China. After it shed its ‘women with bound feet’ image to bring them into manufacturing mainstream, Indian BPO sector is holding women by the hand to participate in the night shift economy.

“The women working on night shift in BPO constitute over 40 per cent of the total workforce in the sector. The stringent security rules adopted by the sector has encouraged families to send their daughters to do night shifts with BPOs,” according to a study commissioned by the National Commission of Women (NCW) and anchored by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India.

In addition to the Indian ITES success story, the other facilitator for the upswing in women participation in night economy has been the amendment of the Factories Act that allows women employees to work night shifts between 10 pm and 6 am. This has seen major increase in the percentages of women working in the healthcare, textile, garments, handicrafts, leather and IT sectors, according to the study.

Akin to China, which now has 330 million working women accounting for 47 per cent of the labour force, the participation of the women workers in textile and leather mills has been fuelled by use of expensive machinery that is not allowed to idle in the night. Also, 8,000 nurses qualifying annually from 400 institutes are adding to this increasing pool of women employees working in the night shift.

The survey, that has sought responses from women doing night shifts, employers, and a crosssection of universities, police, hospitals and industrialists, points out that bigger companies are hiring large number of women employees and hence the percentage of women employees working in the night shift are also substantial.

This said, the survey also underlines the need to introduce more structures of security mechanisms in sectors like textile, leather, garments, handicrafts etc.

Night shift economy BPO sector is holding women by the hand to participate in the night shift Women working in night in BPOs make up over 40% of the total workforce in the sector Stringent security rules have encouraged families to send their daughters.