How hosiery is empowering women in Ludhiana....by Rishika Kriti
Ludhiana: Manufacturing have always been considered as a male dominated occupation. For decades, there was a monopoly of men in this industry.There used to be a general belief that due to its demanding skills and physical labour, women are not suitable for this job, keeping them out of the workforce.
Hence, a woman with less education and exposure, was left with very limited options to earn her livelihood. She had no other options but to be dependent on her family for survival.
But, this is not the case with industrial hub of the state, Ludhiana where most of these women come from migrated families who are not economically strong. Hence, to contribute to their household expenses, they were needed to take some job.
In such scenario, hosiery become their best option to work in. At present, a larger population of employees working in hosiery sector is women.
As per a report published in 2015, the aggregate percentage of female workers in the city is 15 to 17% who are prominently indulged in activities like thread cutting, button sewing and stitching.
Besides this, many other factors are involved, contributing to the women participation in hosiery sector
Skill Training programmes by the industries
Many hosiery units in Ludhiana provide basic training to the women which help them to learn the assignment tasks in a more confident way.It helps them to enter the workforce despite less education and lack of skills.
Safe work place
Industries are a risky place to work where possibilities to get injured remain high. This thing is not evident in hosiery. Hence, women prefer to work here than any other factories. Here, they don't have to deal with machines and dangerous chemicals. Hard physical labour is also not required, making this sector more convenient to work.
Flexible work timings
It is a major reason behind women choice to work in hosiery. Here, they are supposed to work from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. And if they do overtime then also, they get paid accordingly. Such suitable work time help them to strike a balance between their work and family.
Most of the hosiery units in Ludhiana function in an organised way. There is a proper mechanism followed regarding the salaries and incentives of their employees. Some factories also provide them benefits like PF and ESI card which provide a sense of security to workers working here including women.
Putting out System
In this, hosiery owners provide raw materials to women, where they take this to home, process it and return the finished goods to their employers. Here, they are paid according to the number of clothing pieces, they have processed. This system is helpful to those women who have their own limitations or hesitations to work in factories. Hence, under this, they are earning while staying at their home.
Undoubtedly, hosiery is providing employment opportunities to thousands of women residing in Ludhiana. It is helping them to be financially independent and live a dignified life. But in all these, one cannot ignore this fact that along with several benefits, this sector has its own sets of problems too which need to be addressed.
Here, because women have limited working options are subject to certain exploitations. They are paid less irrespective of the work, they have done. Most of the employers hire them because they are consider cheap labour and do not bother to rightfully pay them
Also, these women are that aware of labour laws and regulations. Hence, it becomes easy to exploit them without any repercussions. In some of the cases, they are paid less than minimum wage. Also, there is no job security for them as the employers can fire them anytime, he wants.
In addition to this, this sector lacks a redressal mechanism to resolve the concerns of its women employees which leave them vulnerable at the mercy of their employers.
These problems need to be tackled so that every woman willing to work in the city can thrive without any hesitation. She feels safe and guarded at her work place. Only then, she will be empowered in the true sense.
September 2, 2023
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