Women in IT sector suffer from mental tension




Despite glamour and hefty salaries associated with the field, women in the IT industry suffer from physical discomfort and mental tension, even in their plush office environments, a study revealed.

High salaries and social status associated with the IT sector has attracted women to take up these jobs, but many suffer on account of various factors like late working hours, the study conducted by Kerala State Women's Commission said.

The study also covered problems faced by women in various other fields, including nursing in private hospitals.

Covering 150 women in the IT sector and 50 others in allied areas, the study found that long working hours at the desk and job related pressure creates a lot of physical discomfort and mental tension.

The study suggested that all IT institutions conduct stress management counselling services for women employees, and a law be enforced by the government to reschedule working hours.

It also said all women professionals in IT sector should receive maternity benefits, as is available for government jobs.

Agreeing with the study, former CEO of Technopark here N Radhakrishnan Nair, however, said that working conditions in IT industry are far better compared to most other fields.

"Women are well taken care of. They are picked up from their homes and dropped back by most companies," he said.

"Of course there is some pressure of work as there are deadlines to keep in IT jobs. Many companies take up contracts for foreign clients and it is important to keep contractual obligations," Nair, now with animation major Toonz told PTI.

This kind of pressure is there for both men and women and it is not always correct to say only women suffer, he said.

"It however, is true that women have to cope with practical problems of balancing work at home and office in our social and family set-up. But the same is the case in all professions," he said.

Women in BPOs especially, may need some guidance initially, but those working for MNCs are well taken care of, he said.

The study about nurses in private hospitals revealed that women in this profession are prone to sexual advances from patients.

Eight of 310 nurses interviewed as part of the study had such experiences, all of them working in medium-scale hospitals

But a vast majority of nurses from 82 private hospitals did not share their experiences, the study said, adding, some had admitted to not being treated well by the management.

In most cases, bad experiences meant lewd glances and sexually charged comments from patients.

Another aspect is that 20 per cent of nurses had been trained in private institutes, many not being recognised by the government, it said.

Working conditions in big hospitals (with more than 100 beds) were better compared to small and medium level ones.

Another level of exploitation, revealed in the study is low wages paid to them as only six per cent were paid salary as per government rates.

As much as as 21 per cent were paid monthly wages below Rs 1500 and more than seven per cent did not even get weekly offs.

An important factor which came to light was that a majority in the profession would to shift to other jobs if they got an option because of long working hours and low pay.

Renjitha, an activist of Sakhi, an NGO working for the welfare of women, said sexual harassment complaint committees should be constituted in all institutions.

"The Supreme Court in a case has directed all institutions to constitute such monitoring bodies so that women victims of harassment can lodge complaint with them," she said.




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