As per the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022, India ranked 135th out of 146 countries [WEF, 2022]. One of the key parameters used to assess the Global Gender Gap Index is the economic participation of women which includes the female labour force participation, earned income, wage equality for similar work etc. India scored a low rank of 143 out of 146 countries in the economic participation and opportunity category, with only Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan behind India on this metric.

The Factories Act of 1948 and the corresponding Kerala Factories Rules 1957 regulated and protected the rights of factory workers and stipulated the safety requirements to be adhered to by every factory while engaging in hazardous activities. With the enactment of the Central Labour Codes 2020, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working conditions Code 2020 (OSH Code) supersedes the Factories Act 1948. Labour being a subject in the concurrent list of Schedule VII of the Indian Constitution, to bring the Code to effective enforcement, the Kerala government recently drafted Rules under the OSH Code.

In the project we focussed on bringing in amendments in the draft OSH rules brought out by the Kerala government in the following issues.


    1. Women are allowed to  work during night shifts [7 PM to 6 AM], but with conditions imposed on the employer for ensuring safety and security for women.
    2. They are also restricted  in activities categorised as “dangerous” by the State Rules.

The policy brief contains the recommendations and suggestions for bringing in changes in the relevant women related provisions in the Draft Kerala Occupational safety, health and working conditions Code 2021.
The policy report is a detailed study based on the preliminary and secondary research, stakeholder interviews and focus group discussions that we had with the government officials, factory owners, women employees, trade associations and trade unions. The report also analysed the status of women related factory laws in other states in India.

Click here to read Issue Brief: Easing The Legal Barriers for Employement of women in Factories in kerala



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