GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT WORKPLACES

Article 14 of the Indian Constitution states that all are equal before the law. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that nobody is discriminated against in the country. Everybody is equal and should not be subjected to discrimination. Article 15(1) of the Constitution prevents the State from discriminating against any person on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. Article 16 of the Constitution extends the citizens the right to have equality in employment opportunities. According to Article 39(a) of the Indian Constitution all sexes, have an equal opportunity to a livelihood.

The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 is another statutory provision that the State has put forward to prevent the discrimination of any gender in workplaces. The Act talks about payment of equal remuneration to men and women and the prevention of gender-based discrimination in workplaces.  People employed in the same nature of work, accomplishing similar duties should be treated equally with the same set of rules and should be paid similar wages according to the provisions of this Act. Section 5 of the Equal Remuneration Act prevents discrimination of the employer while employing both men and women and the punishment for the same is recorded under Section 10 (2) of the Act. In the given organization, women are compulsory to resign in case they are pregnant. This is in clear violation of the maternity laws in place. According to the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, it is compulsory for the employers to provide maternity leave for the employees for the period of 12 weeks, this period has been amended to 26 weeks in the amendment of 2017.  The employment conditions in the said organization to a large extend is contravening to the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act.

Air India v Nargesh Meerza[1] is a case that dealt with the discriminatory terms of employment of Air India. The air hostesses working with Air India, a state-run airplane service were subjected to discriminatory conditions such as not allowed to get married in the first 4 years of employment, if married in the first 4 years then compulsory termination of employment, married women could work only as long as they were not pregnant, i.e.., on becoming pregnant the women were forced to resign. The maximum age of employment was 35 and could be extended to 45 upon the directions of the Managing director.   In this case, the court looked into the Constitutional Provisions guaranteed under Article 14, 15, and 16 and in the judgment upheld the provision that terminated the employment in case of marriage in the first 4 years of employment. The court however invalidated the term that caused the termination of services on pregnancy.

International Conventions that are ratified by India also prevent discrimination of women in workplaces. Convention for Elimination of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW) is a covenant that India has ratified and hence has persuasive value. According to the provisions of this covenant, women have the right to work and the right against being discriminated in workplaces.  Article 1 and 11 of CEDAW focuses on equal employment opportunity and prevents discrimination at workplaces. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) also talks about equality in terms of employment for all sexes and genders. This is mentioned under Article 7 of the ICESCR.


[1] Air India v Nargesh Meerza; AIR 1981 SC 1829

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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