Customers who come to the old sub-post office near the Post Master General’s office are welcomed by four proudly smiling women. The office now possesses an air of fervency and hospitality that is not usually seen in offices.
The Department of Posts the PMG sub-post office into a women-only workplace on Tuesday, making it Kerala’s first all-women post office. The Post Office is entirely operated by women employees and provides all facilities that are available in any other post office. The office will be inaugurated on Friday.
The post office has four staff , including post master Shanthi S, postal assistant Manju R, stamp vendor Chandrika C and sweeper Latha Kumari.
“Becoming an ‘All-Women Post Office’ was coincidental. The office had two male employees earlier who were by women in the recent transfers. Then all the four staff became women and a decision was taken to proclaim it as the first ‘All-Women Post Office’ in Kerala Circle. From now onwards, it will be kept as an office exclusively for women, we hope,” said Shanthi.
“All the employees are living within an eight-kilometre radius, which makes the office accessible for them. The work is also less risky and comfortable for women. Frequency of transfers is also lesser, providing more consistency. Already, in many post offices, women outnumber men,” she added.
The working hours are from 9.30 am to 5.30 am. The office offers traditional and modern services such as registered and Speed Post articles, post office savings bank service, monthly income scheme, e-money order and e-payment of telephone bills. It is, however, a non-delivery post office. It doesn’t distribute letters or parcels and so there is no postman or postwoman in the office.
This is the ninth All-Women Post Office in the country. The first such office in the country was inaugurated at Shastri Bhavan under Delhi Circle on the eve of International Women’s Day on March 8. Replicating this effort, women post offices were started under the Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West , Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha circles. The Postal Department is looking forward to start All-Women Post Offices in all the circles the nation.
The feminising of post offices is being done by the Department as part of its efforts to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment. The attempt ensures that women employees working at various levels in the Department facilitate the decision-making of the Department as well as have a role in the management of post offices in the circles. The Postal Department is turning out to be more or less a pink-collar profession, with more women to the field. Many a number of female employees are there in most of the sections, including clerical jobs and even as postwomen, except the ones that demand tough physical labour.