“We have no other economic demands on the table. The 4 lakh workers from 42 state-owned ordnance factories, DRDO units, all the Military Engineering Service (MES) centres and Army Station Workshops are challenging the government at the policy level. Put an end to privatising defence production. In a sense, the strike is historic. This is for the first time that all the civilian employees under the Department of Defence have come together for a strike action. Earlier workers of only some ordnance production units used to come together.”
Caste-based discrimination and resultant socioeconomic disadvantage is therefore more fundamental a problem than simple economic disadvantage, and it’s the former that reservation has been constitutionally mandated to address. Economic disadvantage is usually a consequence of a vulnerability, and thus it is that vulnerability which needs to be tackled for effective poverty alleviation, which is exactly what the drafters of the Indian Constitution had understood to be the purpose of reservation.
When governments, both central and state, are not tolerating genuine criticism of governmental actions, and the courts are not doing much to protect the freedom of expression, a recent judgment by the Kerala High Court introduces a fresh breeze in an otherwise tense environment, where the voices of only some kinds of majorities are being entertained, while voices of minorities are being suppressed. Also, the judgment goes a long away in furthering the labour rights of employees, to express their opinion, even if it amounts to criticism of their employer or superiors.
As per the 2013 Act, the definition of sexual harassment (Section 2(n)) is hinged at “unwelcome” acts, whether directly or by implication, which may include any physical contact and advances; a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks; or showing pornography, or any other verbal or non verbal conduct of sexual nature.
The 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), had recommended that all scheme workers should be recognised as ‘workers’ and not as ‘volunteers’ or ‘honorary workers’, should be paid minimum wages and they should get all statutory benefits like pension, gratuity, DA, earned leave, medical leave, and maternity benefits, including child care leave, life and health insurance, etc.
#MeToo is a scream for help as well as a call to action — by women from all walks of life, united in their demand to end rape culture in general and sexual harassment at workplace in particular. The #MeToo tracker is a collation of all the names that have been accused of sexual harassment so far in India in the wake of the 2018 movement.
The rare sight that Delhi witnessed on September 5, with workers, peasants and the farmers marching decisively demanding a fair share in the growing economy of the country, is a cry for help. They are demanding implementation of MSP in accordance with the Swaminathan Committee report, irrigation facility as well as loan waivers. Workers are demanding better conditions and salaries. But it’s also a war cry. The present ruling government has been sent an ultimatum before the 2019 general elections. Will things change?
This part analyses the judicial biases manifest in legalising the ‘gender’ wage gap through perverse logic that has held patriarchal inequalities as the ‘intelligible’ differentia for ‘reasonable’ classification to premise further inequality in treatment and work/service conditions. It critically analyses the jurisprudence in this regard so far and leaves us pining as we often do, for nothing short of normative, structural overhauls in society to bolster law enforcement.
This is a two-part series on the sociological and legal analysis demystifying the ‘gender’ wage gap, so ubiquitous and normalised in all sectors of the economy, that it rarely witnesses the holistic critical engagement it merits to uncover its sociological, cultural and legal aspects beyond the litany of outrageous statistics. We need to look at how voicing of women’s professional ambition almost unequivocally always backfires as obnoxious ‘self-promotion’, even as men scale ladders of success amidst generous acknowledgement for their ‘negotiation skills’ and ‘networking’.
Are ‘chores’ merely useful tasks that must remain unpaid and unintegrated in the economy because they are by nature different from conventional definition of work? Or, trying to point out a difference between work and chores is an exercise in creating a false binary? Read the first ‘Leaflet debate’.
Women’s struggle through history has been to have access to what has been systematically denied to them for centuries. This purpose is defeated if we argue merely that women should work because it benefits the economy. The struggle is about equality, liberty and justice; about claiming what is rightfully theirs.