The State Government of Kerala has decided to appoint 550 women as drivers in various government and public-sector offices of the State. New laws will soon be framed to make drivers’ posts in Kerala government and state PSUs gender neutral.
In the past, the position of driver could be applied for only by men, in the government offices and public-sector undertakings. However, now, post the weekly cabinet meeting at the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, these posts will be open to women also. Changes will be made in the recruitment rules accordingly.
The move comes close on the heels of the formation of the first women’s battalion in the police force, consisting of over 500 women members.
Women driving private buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and ambulances is not an uncommon sight in Kerala though. But women drivers in government establishments will be a new trend.
The women of the State are reported to be facing the maximum unemployment.
According to the Gender Statistics 2017-18 report, released by the Department of Economics and Statistics (DES) not long back, while the overall unemployment rate in Kerala was 6.7 per cent, the gender gap was wider for women at 14.1 per cent compared to 2.9 per cent for men.
Wage discrimination in Kerala is way higher when it comes to casual labourers than the national average, with men getting paid almost double of what the women earn.