HYDERABAD: Twelve women faculty members of University of Hyderabad (UoH) have urged Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure minimum facilities for women who are posted on polling duties at various polling stations. The faculty members, in an open letter to the ECI on the eve of International Women’s Day on Friday, wanted it to take note of the appalling conditions in which women are forced to work with no proper security, privacy or hygienic conditions at polling stations.
They said they had observed the conditions in which women employees worked in polling stations during the Assembly elections held last year and wanted ECI’s intervention for an improvement in the situation.
They pointed out that most of the polling stations had no separate place for women to stay. They had to stay overnight in the narrow rooms with wet floors, damp walls, poor ventilation and lack of fresh air. Reaching these places itself was a big challenge as there was no proper conveyance.
Exposed to dangers
They said they found out that women had no decent place to stay, but also were the sanitation facilities either non-existent or poor. Having to stay in such places without proper security and proper toilets that sometimes located at a distance and without doors and bolts also exposes to sexual harassment.
They said that women in menstruation, post-labour, menopause, and women suffering from back pain and other specific women’s issues apart from the general health issues had gone through a dreadful time. There could be nursing mothers and disabled women as well among the staff drafted for election duties. There were no proper feeding, bathing, changing, relieving facilities in and around stations.
The faculty members of UoH, Hyderabad, who sent the open letter to the ECI were K Suneetha Rani, S Durga Bhavani, T Sobha Rani, P Anupama, Bindu A Bambah, Sriparna Das, Deepa Sreenivas, U Gopika Sankar, K Swarupa Rani, Sowmya Dechamma, Gracious Mary Temsen and Shree Deepa.