This is the time to be alive when the wave of women empowerment is opening several avenues. Implementation of concepts never available for women before is adding up to the excitement we feel. Indeed, few glitches are bound to make the journey rough but these are a significant part of learning experience.
In a historical move, the reins of suburban Matunga station have been given to all female staffers. D.K. Sharma, the general manager of Central Railway, has called it a step towards women empowerment. The all-women staff at the station comprises of 30 female workers.
There are 14 booking clerks, two Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel, two announcers, four points persons, seven ticket checkers, and a station master.
Mamta Kulkarni, the first ever female station master of Mumbai division in 1992, shared her experience of working with all-women staffers with NDTV:
“Our experience has been very smooth or say some what magical. In my career spanning 25 years with the Railways I never thought of working with all women staff.
We are working like a family and with a sense of responsibility and cooperation.”
It is a wholly new environment for working devoid of any male presence. A number of challenges are bound to come in the way. However, it is also an opportunity to learn the tasks traditionally performed only by men.
One of the ticket checkers said:
“So far, we used to preferably check tickets of women passengers. But, ever since we have come here, we don’t hesitate to ask tickets from male passengers.”
The presence of female RPF creates a safe environment for other women to work. However, the problems regarding safety issues remain. One RPF officers told The Indian Express:
“Our night duty begins at 11 pm and ends at 8 am. This is the time when there are drug-addicts and alcoholics loitering in and around the railway station.”
Even though the problems are natural to any new project, fortunately, station master Mamta Kulkarni is devoted to making this concept a success as she keeps her team motivated. The project was put into force on June 5, 2017.