In the previous issue of BWU dated 11.06.2022, the gender discrimination guideline of Indian Bank in “prohibiting pregnant women from employment even after due process of selection” has been discussed.
IBEF immediately wrote a strongly worded letter on 08.06.2012 to the GM (HR) and urged the management to withdraw the unacceptable clause and make a suitable amendment removing gender discrimination.
Reactions of Members of Parliament:
On seeing this discrimination against women, Shri S. Venkatesan, CPI(M) MP wrote a letter on 12.06.2022 to the MD & CEO of Indian Bank urging upon him to withdraw the discriminatory guidelines both in Indian Bank and Tamilnadu Grama Bank which is a sponsored Regional Rural Bank of Indian Bank and to take action against the officials responsible for issuance of such discriminatory guidelines, ostensibly to avoid the eligible maternity benefit and other benefits like pension, gratuity including seniority.
Shri K. Subbarayan, CPI MP wrote a similar letter on 13.06.2022 to Ms. Smiriti Irani, Minister for Ministry of Women and Child Development mentioning the Indian Bank guideline as “Regressive and misogynic posture of Indian Bank.” He pointed out that the matter under reference “dishonours the very essence of the Indian Constitution, not only the spirit of gender parity is violated, the content is blatantly vocal and expressive of its malicious sex prejudice; classifying pregnancy as ‘unfit’ is disgracing and dishonouring motherhood.” He urged upon the Minister to immediately intervene to delete the clause and to prevent such actions in future.
Women’s wing of AITUC took strong objection
All India Working Women Forum – AITUC took up the issue through a letter dated 13.06.2022 to Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman, Minster of Finance, Government of India taking a very strong objection to the guideline of Indian Bank and urged her to initiate immediate action upon the officials responsible for incorporating such a retrograde clause.
AIDWA demands withdrawal of anti-women decision
All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) issued a press statement demanding withdrawal of anti-women decision by Indian Bank. It pointed out a similar decision taken by SBI a few months ago and SBI had to withdraw its decision due to huge protests from various quarters. The press statement stated that the Indian Bank guidelines are retrograde and “such instructions issued by bank managements will further adversely impact on job opportunities for women. The number of women employees in banks are dismally low at 25 percent”. AIDWA demanded action against the executive who was responsible for issuance of such retrograde circular and also demanded of the Union Government to ensure that no institution discriminates against women in recruitment.
There was wide media coverage of these statements and letters.
Indian Bank, upon these protests, removed all the related forms in its Career site. However it is to be seen whether the gender discrimination is completely removed in the new guidelines which are yet to be uploaded. At least now Indian Bank Management has to realize its roles and responsibilities as a Public Sector institution and restore gender equality both in Indian Bank and its sponsored Tamilnadu Grama Bank. It is also hoped that no institution, public or private, would ever think of discriminating against women in future.