Corporate India steps up security for women after Delhi rape case

The Delhi gang rape has left the entire nation in shock, including corporate India which is now beefing up safety for women employees with more mass pepper spray supply , gizmos, 24x7 helplines etc. Companies are also giving karate classes to female staff, as part of the empowerment drive.

According to a report in the Economic Times, to ensure women employees feel secureIndia Inc is doing all it can like organising escorts to take them home safe, holding self-defence workshops and even allowing them to leave early.

As part of annual training schedules, both HCL Tech and Aegis are conducting workshops in self-defence, while administrative teams have opened shops in office premises to facilitate the sale of pepper spray.

HCL Tech and Aegis are conducting workshops in self-defence. AFP

While ICICI Bank has conducted several meetings to figure out ways of assuring the safety of their women, female employees at Maruti's Gurgaon office have come together to share their safety concerns with SY Siddiqui, chief operating officer of HR, among other functions, another ET report said.

Companies like Accenture, HSBC and Aegis either ensure that a male security guard drops women employees if they are travelling alone or drivers are not allowed to deviate from the travel plan and a security guard has a walky-talky which is always switched on and has to maintain regular contacts with the transport department.

After Wipro BPO employee Jyotikumari Choudhary's gang-rape and murder in November 2007, the company came up with multi-level safety measures to ensure that such incidences are avoided in the future. Wipro runs late night cabs at scheduled times. Routes and every cab is registered with the transport department and each vehicle has a security guard in it who accompanies the lady employee to the doorstep. The company has also introduced a vehicle-tracking system that enables company's security officials to monitor and track the location of the cabs ferrying employees and has a 24X7 toll-free support number on which employees can report about an emergency.

Yebhi.com also ensures women are not the last to be dropped or the first to be picked up in office taxis, the ET report said.

NDTV, on the other hand, has hourly shuttles to pick up employees from various points during the day. All employees are entitled to pick-up and drop-off during dark hours.

Though the safety of women travelling during night by company-arranged cabs is quite ensured by many firms, centralised scrutiny of all office vehicles by a GPS system, assisted by police patrol at night is needed.

Last year, the Delhi police made it mandatory for employers to deploy security guards in cabs ferrying women during night. But some BPOs and corporates in the national capital were seen trying to bend the official directive in order to cut costs.

But with increasing number of crimes against women in Gurgaon and Haryana, the city police has decided to visit each and every multi-national and BPO company to inspect the current situation and note down the safety issues of women working in these companies.