Today women play a vital role in Indian BPO sector. According to survey out of 400 million of workforce in India, around 30-40 percent are females. They are one of the driving forces behind the success of call center industry in India.
The Indian BPO industry accounts for a revenue US$ 39.6 billion and has emerged as one of the largest private industry providing direct employment to 1.6 million professionals.
The participation of women in BPO industry has been seen as a critical enabling factor for continued growth of the industry. Today BPO companies are recognizing women on board at all levels and this helps the organization to make good business sense. Therefore BPO companies are trying to develop and involve women for higher roles and functions.
Most of the people talk about exploitation of women in call centers. Despite the physical stress, mundane nature of the job and low status of call center work, women constitute about 70 percent of the total workforce in BPO sector. According to an independent research it has been found out that women are satisfied and enjoy their work at call centers. A call center job gives them more freedom and autonomy.
Women especially in India have found out that, the wages that they earn through a BPO job help them to experience freedom and autonomy. In India the women mobility has always been controlled by men even in case of highly educated and independent women. According to a study carried on call center workers in India, it has been found that women are happy to learn new skills and have learnt to become more assertive.
The acquired call center skills ranging from soft skills like communication, interpersonal and listening skills to product knowledge and technical knowledge have given a sense of confidence in women. This helps them to deal with customers as well as society at large. However there are women who opt for call center career for short span of life while others continue to pursue their careers in call centers.
The interpersonal skills of women are now being recognized and valued in call centers. In most of the call centers, a premium is attached to women’s voice and interpersonal skills. This is because the quality of customer care jobs ultimately helps a company to gain huge profits. The exact number of women working in Indian BPO’s is not exactly known but the development of IT industry in India had a clear impact on emancipation of women.
According to the studies of village pay phones in Bangladesh, advancement of computer aided technologies and networking in India show that the household income has increased and women have a say and mobility in household matters. With introduction of communication technologies and new information the workload of every woman has increased. They have to do the unpaid household chores in addition to the paid work in the BPO industry.
There is no doubt that technology itself is gendered and is strongly shaped by the patriarchal yardstick of class and gender. Despite all these the most important issue is to restore and carry forward the empowered participation of women in the development of technology and enhance the participation of women through skills, education and creative knowledge. The Indian BPO industry has set high standards in gender inclusivity. Today women play a vital role as the part of the BPO workforce. It has been suggested that the professional skills of women needs to upgrade therefore a number of mentorship programs are being organized.
These programs help women working in BPO to have a definite career path and fulfill a certain criteria in the empowerment of women. India has the largest number of women working in BPO’s than any other single country in the world. This can be partly attributed to the growth of BPO’s in India.