solutions7

This will lead to a safer workplace and amicable work environment for women.

DESCRIPTION

In our interviews with female workers, a few common experiences stood out. Female workers feel that they have to work in inconvenient and unsafe work environments. There are inadequate arrangements made for their convenience, including a lack of resting areas and bathrooms. Moreover, they allege that their supervisors are almost all men, and display a lack of understanding of female issues. They are regularly harassed by male users of public toilets and railway stations, and fear for their personal safety.

Consequently, we are proposing a solution titled ‘She-safe’. This will focus on infrastructural, behavioral and institutional improvements that can be made to improve working conditions for women. Some preliminary ideas include installing CCTVs at worksites, giving women access to panic buttons and tech-based solutions, holding gender sensitization workshops for all workers, ensuring an adequate number of female supervisors at the worksites.

Tech and infra initiatives

  • Panic buttons and whistles for women to raise alarms
  • Anonymous helpline for women to raise complaints, coupled with fast-track redressal
  • Information about and access to washroom facilities for work that doesn’t have a permanent location (E.g., drain cleaning)

Trainings

  • Self-defense classes for women workers
  • Gender sensitization training for male supervisors

Processes

  • Work schedules that are conducive to women (E.g., avoid late nights and early mornings)
  • Appointment of female supervisors from within the worker group; number can be determined as a ratio to female workers
  • Work-site safety audits and modifications (such as lighting in dimly lit areas, surveillance cameras, etc.)
  • Bi-annual third party surveys to get feedback on workplace safety

WORKERS IMPACTED (100%)

Types of work: Drain cleaning, Railways, Public and community toilets

Gender: Female

Employment nature: Contractual and permanent

Personas: All personas (females)

SIMILAR INITIATIVES

  • Rohingya refugees (women) in Bangladesh have been given a rape alarm, a small hand-held device which gives off a high- pitched ambulance wail at the press of a button (Nov, 2017)
  • Meghmani Finechem, adopted a multipronged approach:
    o Separate bathroom and lockers for women
    o Flexible work polices to avoid women working night shifts
    o Revised occupational health and safety standards for a mixed-gender workplace

SUCCESS ENABLERS

  • Buy-in from contractors and supervisors who might be reluctant to implement this, as they are mostly male
  • Robust monitoring and feedback systems for gauging effectiveness of and enforcing initiatives

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