‘Risky’ postings rile women warders in State prisons

In India, it is a proud moment when there is a news reported of women standing equal shoulder with men and taking up traditional men’s jobs – like airline pilot, in military, auto-driver, taxi driver, and so on; but then their jobs are labelled as ‘risky’ and dangerous when they do these job in same conditions as men do and it does not seem so appealing anymore.  Is not women taking up risky jobs a small cost to pay for women empowerment?  Equal pay for equal work also means Equal work for equal pay!  News below:


Akshatha M, Mangalore, July 15, 2012, DHNS:

Asked to guard male prisoners, they face a tough time on duty

Women warders recruited to central prisons and district jails are facing a tough time, thanks to the ‘risky postings’ by the Prisons Department. Recruited under 33 per cent quota for women, the warders are now posted to guard male prisoners.

A case in point is the district jail in Mangalore where 10 women warders appointed months ago are now made to guard the cells where male prisoners are lodged.A warder, who wished to be unnamed said they had to discharge their duty standing in between the jail compound and the cell. “While some criminals glare at us some throw lewd comments,” she said.

According to the sources, the women warders in Chikmagalur district jail are also put on duty to guard the barracks housing male prisoners, causing humiliation to warders.

Worse was the plight at Belgaum Central prison where women warders were put on night duty. The system was withdrawn this June following an unsavoury incident and severe opposition from warders. The situation is no different in Mysore and Bellary jails.

This apart, the women staff lack basic facilities at their workplace. Though female warders are supposed to be provided with rest rooms and toilets, the ‘luxury’ remains only on paper. Neither do they have a place of shelter nor any security to protect themselves on the jail premises.

“We do not have a place to sit and guard the prisoners. Be it sun or rain, we are supposed to stand for hours outside the barracks. The only place of shelter is a dilapidated open toilet located near the barrack,” said a warder in Mangalore jail.
The pleas of the warders have fallen on deaf ears. Their complaints are met with a readymade reply: “You have been recruited as warder under 33 per cent quota. You are equivalent to your male counterparts. Hence, you should not expect any special provision on the jail premises.” The jail superintendents too express their helplessness as they say they have received the order from the “top.” 

Sources said there were provisions to post women warders to less risky jobs such as gate duty, officers duty, guard duty and sentrying and the higher authorities were yet to make up their mind. In fact, the problems at the workplace have compelled a few warders to contemplate quitting the job.

When contacted, Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) K V Gagandeep told Deccan Herald that there was no problem with the women warders. “I have not received any complaint so far and I insist them to do their duty whatsoever.”

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