India Post committed to gender equality, women empowerment

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India Post committed to gender equality, women empowerment

Monday, 08 November 2021 | BRUHASPATI SAMAl

For a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, gender equality is a necessary foundation as a fundamental human right for which the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 has a target of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030.

The Goal 5 targets include, inter alia, ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere, ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life. If gender diversity is encouraged, the organisations can perform better. On this background, the Posts worldwide is not also lagging behind to work proactively towards women’s empowerment and gender equality through its various commitments.

Historically, the postal sector is a male dominated industry which involves several challenges for women to work. Although there are no specific figures on the breakdown of women and men who work within the global postal sector, the industry has come a long way over the years to gain better gender equality and the situation differs from country to country. In today’s digital society which merits a person based on their individual skills, experience and talent, women employees are witnessing increasing career opportunities in the Postal sector.

Illustratively, according to the United State Postal Service (USPS), women have transported mail in the US since the mid-1800. By 2018, USPS had 2,89,500 women employees which is more than 45 per cent of the postal workforce. The Royal Mail of United Kingdom also has a strong history of women employed by the Posts. In fact, the postal service in the UK is considered to be a pioneer of women’s employment in the country, with large numbers of females employed since 1870.

Posts in other areas of the world are also working hard to improve gender equality. The Singapore Post, for example, though opened the position of postal worker to females in 1974; today it has a big focus on gender diversity and four out of the nine directors on its board are females. The Emirates Post Group (EPG) which offers the women employees to take on new opportunities, training, and responsibilities, meanwhile prides itself on being one of the leading employers of females in the UAE with more than 35 percent. In Lithuania, the postal operator has a similar number of women and men working in managerial positions and its code of ethics emphasizes the importance of equal pay and equal opportunities. The New Zealand Post’s (NZ Post) commitment is evident in the number of initiatives it has underway to address gender equality. Overall, the NZ Post has a workforce comprised of more women than men. Above all, the Universal Postal Union itself makes every effort to ensure gender equality in its staff and reports on gender issues to the Council of Administration every year.

Currently 46 per cent of core UPU employees are women.

To ensure that the benefits of development should reach women as much as men, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India adopted Gender Budgeting as a powerful tool for gender mainstreaming during 2004. Accordingly, the India Post established Gender Budget Cell which was reconstituted as Gender and Child Budget Cell in 2018. It has made a provision of Rs 1 crore in Budget Estimate 2020-21 for gender concern with a plan for opening of creches, tiffin rooms and toilet facilities etc. in post offices and to start awareness campaign about detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and other cancers and health condition of women above 35 years. Besides, Grant-in-aid is admissible to Central Postal Ladies Organisation and its subordinate organisations in 23 Postal Circles @ Rs 60,000 for running a creche with non-recurring financial assistance @ Rs 20,000 at the end of every three years and recurring grant of Rs 1,500 per child per month subject to a maximum grant of Rs 38,000 per each creche. In addition, non-recurring grant of Rs 5,000 is admissible for opening of Tailoring Centers with Rs 750 per month as salary for the part-time Tailoring Instructor. To prevent sexual harassment of women employees at workplaces, a committee under the Chairmanship of a Senior Administrative Grade Level Officer with three other members has been set up in the Postal Directorate. As a means to mainstreaming women’s concern, the India Post is doing a lot at the national and international level. Out of total 170,942 Departmental employees (excluding Gramin Dak Sewaks), the India Post has 28929 (17%) women employees.

To make the post offices more women friendly, the India Post has 715 Post Offices entirely run by women employees out of which 263 are Sub Post offices and 452 are Branch Post Offices.

Globally, the postal sector is committed to eliminate all forms of violence and harmful practices against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, to undertake reforms for giving women equal rights to economic resources, to enhance the use of enabling information and communications technology and to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

(The writer is all-India organising general secretary, National Federation of Postal Employees (P-III), Central Headquarters, New Delhi. He is Postmaster Sahidnagar Mukhya Dak Ghar; email: )




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