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Working from home benefitting women

A woman is still considered to be solely responsible for looking after the children & elderly. They are expected to stay home and do the household chores while the men go to work and earn for the living. India has made significant economic progress in recent decades with an increasing GDP per capita. Such economic growth, however, is not associated with improvement in women's equal economic participation. India still has one of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world of 18% for women compared to 82% for men. This cohort has only been growing smaller with the unequal gender norms and safety issues along with the various economic and sociological barriers. For all these years, women have been burdened with the household responsibilities without a choice, with their career completely neglected. These responsibilities and societal pressures barred them from making a physical presence at work, which was a necessity then. But today, the virus has brought work to your homes, offering women a chance to deal with the "forced responsibilities" as well as make a place in the work world. Till now it was either work or stay home, but with Work from Home, a woman can pursue both without having to choose between one. Along with physical working environment that's secure and comfortable with minimal distractions can help to engage in deep work, enhancing human productivity. Sexual harassment has become a universal issue which has only increased with time. Even with so many stringent laws and heavy restrictions, a large number of cases are reported. While men experience sexual harassment as well, the prevalence is higher for women, as is the intensity of those experiences. Around 81% of women compared to 43% of men experience some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime. What's disconcerting is the fact that most of the victims, especially women, don't report their experience out of the fear of losing their job or public humiliation. They bear the brunt of it because otherwise they might not be allowed to work again by their family for 'safety concerns'. Why does a woman have to face abuses verbally or physically to simply work. With the Telecommuting phase, men and women both have to work without coming in physical contact with other employees. This would undoubtedly be a relief to those who were already suffering from harassments silently and put a stop to more physical assaults. Harassments through online platforms are also increasing lately though they come with more evidence against the offender. For example- if an employee tries to call another employee at odd timings or send inappropriate messages, the text/calls serve as evidence against the offender, which were difficult to prove otherwise. This would provide faster justice to the victim and create fear among perpetrators as well. Till now working required commuting to and from the office/workplace which was not feasible for a lot of women due to travel issues like distance, mode of transportation, odd timings, personal safety, and many more. This is why workplaces far from home or in areas considered unsafe were not an option for many of them. Such restrictions and conditions narrowed down the already limited choices of jobs available to a woman. With Work from Home, a woman

employee can choose to work for any organization in any field from corporate to finance to sales without limiting themselves to the commuting distance or time suitability. Gender biased discrimination against woman continues to exist in the workplace in the form of salary/promotions, harshly evaluated behaviour, gender degradation and many other. Woman are often considered weaker and less productive to the organization for reasons like menstrual leaves, pregnancy and maternity leaves, leading to a preference for men at work. But Work from Home provides favourable conditions to women in such times to let them be at their comfort and safety without the strain of commuting to the office or receiving a pay cut. This would also help them avoid unnecessary comments that they have to endure to incessantly. Though Work from Home does harm the mental health and can lead to an increase in domestic violence, it has also removed a lot of issues concerning personal safety, including fear of sexual harassment and oppressive social norms restricting mobility that prevented them from seeking employment and confined them to primary caregiver roles. There's no reliable data that proves Telecommuting to be beneficial to every employee and enterprise. Still, the prevalence of it in today's world is rapidly increasing and has a lot to offer to women to re-examine their status quo in their workplace.

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