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Kerala's Women Bus Conductors Quit En Masse For Being Paid Almost Half Of Their Male Counterparts

The state bus operators' federation claimed they quit because of the inconvenient hours and lack of facilities.

30/01/2017 5:36 PM IST | Updated 30/01/2017 8:31 PM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Back in 2016, many women in Kerala were recruited as bus conductors under the state government's Kudumbashree scheme meant to eradicate poverty.

But 6 months later, the Hindu reports, most of these women who were trained and hired to be conductors under the scheme are opting out.

While government statistics maintain that 26 out of the 90 women originally hired are still employed, the Hindu quotes a woman conductor, who quit recently, as saying that all except one have quit.

The reason according to the women is discriminatory pay. As one woman conductor explained on condition of anonymity, there was a huge gap between the wages that the male and female conductors received. While the men received 800 or 900 per day, the most a woman could earn was 500 per day despite putting in 12 hours of work.

The Kerala State Private Bus Operators' Federation did not acknowledge wage discrimination as the reason why women were quitting their jobs as conductors. A spokesman for the federation cited various other reasons such as inconvenient hours and the lack of facilities for women at bus stops.

While companies and individual employers can be held accountable under the Equal Renumeration Act of 1976 which aims to prevent discrimination in all matters relating to employment, gender pay gap continues to be a major issue in India. In fact, according to a report by the World Economic Forum, a woman in the corporate sector in India is paid only one-third of what a man in the same position is paid.

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