Insecurity is high and morale rock-bottom among women employees in Delhi and nearby Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad after the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student last month, shows a survey by trade and commerce body Assocham.
Assocham or the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India did the survey in the National Capital Region and found the IT industry, especially call centres where women make up over half the workforce, particularly shaken.
The study released three days ago found that:
- One in three women employees in IT companies and call centres have cut down working hours after sunset or quit jobs over the last fortnight.
- Nearly 82 per cent said they have started leaving office early after sunset.
- Around 67 per cent said they found the atmosphere not comfortable enough to work in call centres.
Public outcry over the student's gang-rape in a moving bus has pushed the Delhi government and the police to take steps to make the city friendlier for women.
The chief minister's officer has started a helpline for women (number 181) and introduced more public buses with guards at night. The Delhi Police last week held a workshop to train its officers to be more sensitive to crimes against women.
But that has neither abated the attacks, as Friday night's rape and murder of a 21-year-old in Noida shows, nor reassured women.
Aditi Mohan, 24, has not decided yet whether to quit her call-centre job, but her family is very worried. Aditi works at a call centre in Greater Noida and is used to the odd hours for more than 18 months.
"What happened to the student could have happened to me or my collegues. If I take a day job, there will be more people on the roads while going or coming back from office. Even if I use public transport, I will at least be comfortable taking a bus," she says.
Aditi's mother Nirmal Mohan says she will be a lot less tense if her daughter takes a job that has regular hours.