Watch: The Unsung Postwomen Who Deliver Chitthis Across Mumbai
Ever been told you couldn’t do something because it’s a “man’s job”? It’s time to shut the haters. For Women’s Day, we present you stories about women who’re acing conventionally male-dominated jobs and smashing ‘StreeOtypes’ along the way!
Meet Mumbai's postwomen.
Manisha Daneshwar Sale, Parvati Kalidas Gohil and Viru Madhav Jitiya are three women who have been hired by Mumbai’s General Post Office and have been delivering snail mail since 1984. Currently, the GPO employs 10 postwomen against 103 men. A few others work on a daily wage basis.
In 1984, Sale, Gohil and Jitiya each got a call for an interview for the position from Mantralaya. They were among the first women to be approached for the job. At the time, they were offered a salary of Rs 300, and today they make around Rs 50,000 a month. Most of the postwomen are the highest earning members of their family.
The women initially faced varying levels of resistance from their families considering their job would require them to travel door to door delivering mail. But the pay and stability of a government job were hard to dismiss entirely.
My husband had said that my wife has a government job so it’s good. He didn’t have a job. He was in the private sector but he was thankful for my job as my money would run the house and then he decided to get married to me. He was very poor; he didn’t have anything. All the wedding expenses were handled by me.Manisha Daneshwar, Postwoman
My husband had said no because back then, no women use to go out to work. I had not told anyone from my family about my job. They would have all said, ‘This is not a traditional job. How is she roaming on the streets?’ All this while they thought I had a desk job at the post office. After 15-20 years I told everyone that I was a postwoman. Everyone knows now but all these years it had been a secret.Parvati Kalidas Gohil
When asked about discrimination in at the workplace, they said that every postman in the office was like their brother and that they worked like a family.
Postman remains the official term for a person who delivers mail, although the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has asked the postal department to change the term to the gender neutral ‘post person’.