This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Challenges Faced by Women at BPO Sectors

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Richa Chaturvedi:

At present, due to fast rising financial demands of middle-class families in India, several women are compelled to play the role of a perfect housewife, an ideal mother and a professionally oriented employee, all at the same time. In past few decades, India has shown tremendous development in terms of employment opportunities and, offering bright career options for women, especially teenage girls seeking part-time jobs. Today, many ladies are not only surpassing the barriers of sex but, they’re also pursuing with odd jobs (including defence services, merchant navy and commercial flying) that were once restricted to the male members of the society.

However, despite of all these advancements, Indian society still follows a patriarchal approach towards working women. Even today, many people consider females to be homemakers and not working professionals. This approach is a major reason behind discrimination suffered by employed females.

In 2000, the western countries had opened up several doors for boosting Indian economy. Due to popularity of online business and the increasing trend of joining part-time jobs, especially among teenagers, several BPOs have established their roots in the market. Presently, India has emerged as a world-class back office destination. Since the jobs offered by BPOs and call centers were easier therefore, several youngsters were attracted towards this newly minted field. Based on a survey conducted in 2010, women contribute to one-third staff, currently working in the Indian BPOs. Still, they’re subjected to various “ups and downs” in their professional lives and, this problem needs to be addressed.

Some common work challenges experienced by ladies working in a call center environment have been enlisted here:

  • Most employers are skeptical about the ideas and communication skills of women hence, most females do not get a job that goes with their talents and experience.
  • Females are subjected to constant discrimination in their offices. Often, the roles involving leadership qualities, quick decision making abilities and team management skills, are not handed over to a woman.
  • Safe transportation is a major setback for girls, irrespective of small or big cities.
  • Irregular availability of work, zero job security, low salaries and varying working hours are general problems experienced by girls working in metropolitan cities.
  •  Sexual harassment by colleagues and senior staff is a blatant issue nowadays. Numerous cases involving sex scandals, physical abuse and forced rapes are highlighted by media on regular basis. These cases are commonly encountered by the staff working in night shifts.
  •  The average literacy rate of Indian women is quite low in comparison to the average literacy rate of Indian men. Low-level of education hampers their growth opportunities. Further, due to lack of self confidence and fluent communication skills, most females find it difficult to express their standpoint in the corporate sector.
  • Female employees are handicapped by their own family members and associates. Lack of motivation from the loved ones, hinders their progress.

Although many large-scale organizations are making appreciable attempts in resolving the above mentioned problems yet, the results obtained are not at all satisfactory. Several BPOs have introduced “pick and drop facilities” or free transportation services for women. These office cabs are operated by recognized drivers. Further, SMS services, office hotlines and pre-installed GPS as well as CCTV cameras have helped in enhancing internal security.

Government authorities have laid down special rules to ensure basic safety of females working in private sectors. Police verification of office staff, setting up of efficient complain addressing systems and performing background inspections at regular time intervals, are essential requirements of the present hour. Nevertheless, we also need strict sexual harassment laws to deal with physical abuse. Moreover, it becomes the moral responsibility of males to chuck their chauvinistic attitude aside. Fathers, husbands and brothers must take an initiative to encourage the female members of their families to progress and protest when required. Society, in general, should be cognizant of the needs of a woman.

Always remember that even women need cheerleaders and backup supports at times. Development of our nation is incomplete without the progress of the female sections and since BPO is a fast developing field, special attention must be devoted to it.

You must be to comment.
  1. Shantanu

    Article zeroes in on a single challenge faced by women n dat s suppression by males…. s dis the only challenge dey face..???? i guess not… u talked about females joining profession like merchant navy and army. but let me tell you that there females are not given any hard physical task…leave aside HARD physical task…they r privileged not to do any physical task which requires sweating….and dis s all done by men sitting over dere.y are’nt females taking dis s as a challenge that yes they have got every capability of doin such tasks f bestowed on dem…but they never do….y s dis not considered a challenge????rahi BPO ki baat. to every BPO s nt that big enuf to provide transportation. f a female s joining a BPO den she s well aware that she will get subjected to late night schedule and also it may happen dat no transportation s provided….but she joins it thinking she s a female nd dat she s destined to get facilities and privileges on top of her fundamental rights and DUTIES…

    1. Richa

      @ Shantanu,

      The basic idea behind writing this article was to summarize the problems faced by women who work at call centers. I’m strictly not talking about “male suppression” anywhere here. The point is to prepare women to face these challenges with best of their abilities and to state possible solutions which BPOs can take up in order to help them. And it works both way because even males might experience these issues. This article has been written from a female’s viewpoint considering the fact that I’m a female myself and I’ve closely experienced what has been written here. Besides, while most men can deal with problems at workplace, most females can’t handle it so they should work towards the solution.

      It’s true most call centers don’t have transportation facilities or flexible working hours. In such cases, the female should herself find possible solutions to deal with her problem at her end. And to mention, if these amenities are offered by companies, they’ll be provided to all, irrespective of gender, age or sex. Both men and women are mutually benefited. While sending you out for work, your parents are not that concerned about your security, it’s because you’re a male but security does concern them when they’re sending out their daughters to work at night shifts. So, if the employees can extend a helping hand for contributing towards there security, what’s wrong in it?

      I’m not much informed about professions like air force and merchant navy however as you’ve mentioned, if the management is partial in the case of women and they’re not offering them “Sweaty assignments” as you say, then they’re at fault because they’re denying them a chance to prove themselves by working on similar “rough” terms as in the case of men.

      Being a women myself, I don’t expect special privileges from society, I’d rather have them by fighting for them and proving myself worth it. So, it’s a request that please come over this male-female agenda and think beyond it.

  2. Zeus

    Things are not that bad as you think 😉 I know many girls working as team leader and handling different leadership roles… and noone is 100% safe anywhere 😉

  3. disqus_NyW80QT8Z2


    Can anybody suggest how i can interview women who left job from IT/BPO after marriage and childbirth and now either looking for job or working as housewives? do you guys have any association or contact details of such women.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. yssubramanyam

      first of all know her problem, what made her to quit the job? most of the woman are leaving job during pregnancy since they are not given adequate maternal leave/rest. they need special attention /care to facilitate family life. if you give her confidence that the family life will be given enough privileges with out damaging the liabilities of office function, the woman will voluntarily serve the organization.

  4. yssubramanyam

    there are certain isolated cases every where in the working place. we need to demand the change of mind set of men regarding working woman.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Heena Shah

By Hemant Thakur

By India Development Review (IDR)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below