Reservation as a practice has been a topic of debate for years now. A tool meant for empowering the class which doesn’t get enough educational or professional opportunities, has always been misused to the extent of mere appeasement of one section. Until now, we have seen several reservation quotas in the name of religion, caste, etc. however, the nursing profession in India is battling a gender based reservation — a reservation which is allegedly biased against the male gender.
If you would type hashtag #Save_Male_Nurses on twitter, you will come across a social media campaign that has been launched by ‘male nurses of India’ against the discrimination practised by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the recruitment of nursing officers.
The male nurses and the AIIMS nurses’ union has been constantly alleging gender discrimination in the recruitment process, since the same came into force in July 2019.
The new gender based reservation criteria was finalised during the 4th Central Institutional Body (CIB) meeting in July 2019, pertaining to recruitment of nurses in various AIIMS throughout India. Since then, AIIMS Nurses’ Union have expressed their anguish and disagreement over the changed criteria.
We speak in detail with Harish Kumar Kajla, President, AIIMS Nurses Union, to understand the matter in depth. Kajla quotes,
We have always seen caste based reservation at AIIMS for years now, however, there was no discrimination amongst genders. In July last year, the Central Institute Body (CIB), chaired by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, was presented with this suggestion, and the matter of gender based reservation was concluded instantly. Point no. 16 in the minutes of the meeting on this matter read as follows:
The CIB discussed on the issue of appropriateness and requirement of female nursing staff in a number of departments/specialised wards vis-à-vis patient comfort and care. Keeping this in view, it was decided that 80% of posts may be reserved for female nursing staff, while the remaining 20% may be filled by the male nursing staff.
Harish questions, how can ‘patient comfort’ be the deciding factor for granting gender based reservation. He says,
There are several female nurses who look after male patients and it may not be right to generalise such statements.
Ministry says males can do training for nursing, but their messaging is you cannot get a job.
I feel this reservation is not unjust towards males, but also unfair to female nurses. Let’s assume there will be 100% female nurses who can qualify on merit, but the one’s falling after the reservation cut off will not get an opportunity, because your criteria says 80% female, 20% male.
Does this mean women should remain confined to nursing jobs and not get into medical, IAS, IPS?
Even the best of feminists do not want other women to scale higher.
If it is about women empowerment do it all levels, why just nurses. They have attacked both male and female nurse officers by enforcing this decision.
- Equality must prevail in every section of society, not just among the genders
- However, making reservations in jobs based on gender is not just about harming one section, but also raises a huge question on the capabilities of the officers
- Image a female nurse, who is less deserving and is only there because of reservation, is allowed to look after a patient but she unable to fulfil her duties well
- This also violates our Constitution which does not permit more than 50% reservation
- Are we as a country, ready to put several livelihoods of male nurses to stake — remember men in India are still considered to be sole providers of the home, even if the female members of the family are employed and earning
- During COVID_19, we have seen our medical fraternity toiling day and night irrespective of caste, religion or gender. We have hailed all without any biases or preferences towards either
- The government should withdraw this excessive reservation at once, and award jobs purely on the basis of merit
- Everything should not be about image management. You cannot thrash our sons in the name of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’