Women workers in Rolpa continue to suffer wage-discrimination

mahila-kamdar

Rolpa: Daily wage earner Rupsari Bista was forced to come to the district headquarters carrying her two small children in search of job nine years ago after she was abandoned by her husband.

Now she gets Rs 450 per day for nine-hour physical labour. She is the sole bread winner in her family. She gets no other facilities except the wages. It has been very difficult for her to afford school education of her children, pay the house rent and manage a two-square of meal.

Jun Kumari Budha, a daily wage earner based in the district headquarters Liwang, is the single parent taking all responsibility of her offspring. She has been taking the sole responsibilities of her children since her husband left the family for the second marriage. She pockets Rs 500 per day.

Junsara Budha is another woman labour who had decided to leave her hometown Mirul 15 years ago in hope of getting a way of living in the district headquarters. In her initial days, she used to get Rs 120 daily, now she receives Rs 500 per day. She decided to toil hard to financially contribute to the family with the realization that sole earnings of her husband who is a migrant worker was not sufficient to address the family needs.

The number of women involved in risky works demanding hard physical labour (workers at the construction sites) and other manual works is high in the district headquarters. But they are discriminated against in manifold ways including in wages and are not paid as their male counterparts who get higher wage than them for the same nature of work for same hours. Unequal pay is their major concern.

The workers have complained that they do not get any other facilities except the wages on the work day. They have demanded insurance coverage for the workers as they also come across accidents from time to time.

Rupsari Bista, a woman labourer, said that she had to bear all her medical expenses herself for the treatment of a big cut she suffered in her head in course of work. She had to be admitted to hospital in Nepalgunj for the treatment.

The women labourers have complained that although they have been working despite the risk, the contractors and the employers have discriminated against them in the pay and the work. They said that the wages they get is not commensurate with the market inflation.

“The market price of essential goods is so high and our wages very low in comparison to that. This makes our day-to-day life difficult,” Jun Kumari Budha, a woman worker said, adding that they have to go hungry if they do not find work for long time or fall sick. She said there is unequal pay between men and women skilled workers also.