|Women Encounter Technology: Changing Patterns of Employment in the Third World (UNU, 1995, 356 pages)|
|8. Computerization and women's employment in India's banking sector|
The last decade has seen a systematic rise in the employment of women in the banking and finance sector. The result of a multiplicity of factors, including: profound social changes taking place in India regarding women's education and employment; the changing policies of management, especially after the nationalization and reorganization of the LIC and of major banks; the policies of the Indian government; international changes in banking and finance and, not least, the technological changes being effected in the industry.
Computerization has had positive and negative implications for the workforce. It has affected employment levels and workloads and brought increasing pressure for flexibility. It has changed the content of work, and brought reduced job security and a shift towards more non-bargainable employees, which affects the nature and stability of the union. There have been changes in grading and pay, and in the means by which the workforce and information are controlled. The autonomy of employees and their conditions of work, and health and safety, have been affected also.
These all have a specific impact on women employees, who are being recruited in large numbers in the banking and finance sector, mainly in the clerical category. Women employees are increasingly looking at their work in terms of career prospects and are keen on learning new skills and advancing in their careers, despite severe limitations. They are organizing themselves into unions and separate women's caucuses within and outside unions.
While the rate of recruitment has slackened in India since the mid-1980s, there has not yet been a reversal, as has happened in some western countries. Women employees feel the need to broaden their vision by relating to each other and sharing information about national and international trends. This is an important basis for both interaction with the national women's movement and for international solidarity and sharing of experiences and working on future strategies.
This is especially relevant in the context of the introduction and extension of new technology in workplaces, as new technology has made the globe a much smaller place in terms of the spread of technologies and management strategies. Women employees need a constant process of discussion and strategy formulation if they are not merely to respond to these changes, but to become more proactive, to make suggestions and changes to suit their short and long-term interests.