Gender gap widening in Railways – Women workforce declining fast

A little over 6 per cent women work with the Indian Railways, while their representation in certain category of jobs has declined drastically, a study report on the Railways’ performance has revealed.

The study, published in the ministry’s monthly journal, has said that it should increase women employees by 27 per cent.

The yawning gender gap in railway’s workforce has been the subject of discussion in many forums, including the Parliamentary panel, but bridging that gap has proved to be a tough challenge.

Railway officials say that the hopeless numbers can be explained by the nature of the work which is not conducive for women.

“Most of the jobs in railways are field-jobs that do not suit women. There is no discrimination in recruitment; fact is that these jobs do not attract them”, said an official.

The study revealed the number of women employees in the railway actually increased from 79,000 in 2006-07 to 85,000 in 2010-11. However, there has been a significant decline in their numbers in Group D category in the same period, reducing from 36,000 in 2006-07 to 25,000 in 2010-11.

The number of women in the officer’s category remained by and large the same with a Nominal increase from 1,228 in 2006-07 to 1,269 in 2010-11.

However, number of women employees increased considerably in the C category involving office works from 42000 in 2006-07 to 59000 in 2010-11.

The overall strength of Railways has also declined from 1990-91 when it had 16.91 lakh employees to 13.28 lakh in 2010-11, a reduction of 20 per cent.