CHANDIGARH: It is a man’s world, they say and sometimes in the face of violent opposition, the overall situation of women’s empowerment leaves a great deal to be desired. Keep this in mind, let us relate an interesting example, first-of-its-kind in Chandigarh, set by a petrol pump owner in Chandigarh where the job of filling vehicle petrol tanks in City Beautiful, so far some reasons seen exclusively as a male preserve, is done entirely by women.
Zoom to the petrol station in Sector 49 has taken the bold initiative of employing girls in what has always been essentially a male-domain hence an unusual scene. Smartly dressed in pants, collared shirts with badge of Indian Oil, shoes and caps these girls go about filling up tanks of cars, motorcycles with an air of ease and in a very professional way which makes one wonders why it took so long for this initiative to take off in Chandigarh.
While talking to Ashok Kumar, Manager of the pump, said that instead of looking to the government to address problems of second half, the society can itself find solutions to number of problems through some initiatives. He further said that technology at petrol pumps was so advanced hence there was no chance of tampering. Still, some made complaints of less petrol, leakage of petrol and argument with customer especially senior citizens continued to fore. An idea struck to his mind to appoint girls to man some petrol channels. He appointed seven girls mainly who worked as domestic servants. The girls were trained and now they were capable to do the job. “Empowerment and financial independence go hand in hand,” feels he.
He further said that besides salary, these girls would be entitled for ESI and provident fund as per the government’s rules. They were only worked during the day time and they were not put on night duty. Of these, two were married and study materials to their children would be provided by them, he said. Besides, these girls were told to engage an auto permanently which could drop and pick them every day and the fare would be paid by the pump owners. He has also proposed to give incentive to these girls for good work, he revealed and added that so far no complaint was received from the petrol channel manned by these girls employee.
When Pooja an employee at the petrol pump was asked about the job she said she was matriculate and worked in a factory. She wanted to pursue her study further but she could not do so due to domestic constraints. “We are very happy with the job,” all said. They said more and more should be employed at petrol station across the city as they were no less than men.
Girls also stated that male staff at the petrol pump was helpful in case of any difficulties and that they all worked as team. One may hope that small step of this petrol pump may result in big strides in days to come.
One can only hope that this initiative soon becomes a trend and more women can become a part of this and other similar industries. Like Pooja said earlier, ‘women are no less than men’, so why not give them the opportunity to cross over gender barriers and prove themselves in areas which have been male dominated. Not only will this have a positive economic impact overall, it will also help women become more financially independent; something that can only be of benefit to society at large.