Thursday, December 22, 2005

Woman and security to them

With the recent uproar about all the security mess that caused the rape and death of a call center employee, a bigger debate is bound to start....Should I recruit a woman for the job? For an employer, it may become a headache to provide all the required security stuff to ladies. More than providing the security, it would be difficult to make it fool proof.

After the recent rape and murder of a HP call center employee in Bangalore, this debate is raging in all the newspapers and channels.
I always argued with all my female colleagues that this is not a general incident and should not be blown out of proportion. Most of the times the one shot blunt answer I got was - "You will know if you experience it and if you are a girl". But I still stand by my point...
1. Don't generalize that all cab drivers are bad.
2. Don't generalize that women are helpless and they need security at any cost.
3. Don't generalize that there should not be night shifts for ladies.
4. Don't generalize that women are being harassed by the employers.

The best debate place has been my cab...where girls poured with their problems...but none had a solution.

Yesterday evening we had a practical example...
After I got down from the cab, there were only 3 girls in the cab along with the driver. After the next stop, there would be just one girl. It was 2030 in the night and she has to go to a not so crowded area. What if the driver misbehaves?
Some answers that came are -
1. She should be on a phone informing relatives or friends the direction of the cab. (Most impractical!!! Can this save the girl from harassment or eventual torture??)
2. One of we boys should accompany her till the last stop (which is 5 kms from our stop). (As if we are super heroes. If a guy like me is given one punch, I am gone!)
3. The company should send somebody with her till her house. (FYI - My office runs 50+ shuttles. The company should not only recruit additional guys but they should be trusted guys too!!! No outsourcing here!!!)

I hope people realize that it is better to get equipped and fight the job themselves. One friend of mine circulated a mail which is at the end of the post.

It would be unfortunate if these things eventually lead to an unwritten law in the industry - Please avoid recruiting ladies!!!

Now the mail
A few tips that can definitely help everyone,

1) Avoid speaking to people whom you don't know (auto rickshaw driver, taxi drivers ....)
2) Avoid late night parties.
3) Do not mix drinking with your wonderful ability to drive.
4) Avoid taking ladies to the late night parties, if you cannot avoid then try going in groups.
7) Avoid taking short cuts when going out in the nights.
8) Avoid restaurant/dhabas in the outskirts of the city as these are places where anti social elements usually hang out.
9) Report incidents to the police if you feel it is the correct information that you are providing to them.
10) Make sure you inform any one before you visit them late at night and also specify time frames.
10) Couples in love please please avoid meeting up in lonely places.
11) Avoid arguing with auto rickshaw drivers and also when you find people who are fighting on roads(it could be a trap)
12) Avoid having personal and friendly conversation with taxi drivers, auto rickshaw drivers , Cab drivers (Specially women)
13) If the driver behaves suspiciously/ rudely try to divert the vehicle to some public place and then immediately get off. Inform the transport department and your manager.
14) Women make sure that you are carrying something to protect yourselves such as a bottle of pepper spray and also make sure that you are wearing a jacket or a shawl if you are not escorted by a man whom you know.

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