Doormen are a common sight in shopping malls but stores hesitate to hire women for the job.
In Rajouri Garden, an upscale marketplace in west Delhi, the sight of a woman juggling shopping bags is a common one. Except Ragini is no shopper, she’s a doorwoman — one of the rare women in the profession.
The 25-year-old reaches the store by 11 am, leaving her three-year-old son at an anganwadi, and leaves after clocking a 10-hour workday. Household responsibilities are taken care of by her sister who lives with her and her husband, a rickshaw puller. “The work is good, but it gets hectic on weekends, around festivals and when my colleague takes a day off. It is easy but I am responsible for the customers’ belongings. Sometimes there is lot of chaos,” says Ragini.
So why aren’t there more women manning (pun not intended) doors? “We prefer to hire men as the job is hard. One is required to stand through the shift and women can’t do that,” says a senior worker at the Rajouri outlet of women’s wear chain Meena Bazaar. Jasjeet Singh, manager of a nearby store says, “We require men since the work involves long hours and sometimes they have to stay till late. Even the agencies generally provide men.”
Nevertheless, during peak seasons, women are hired to lend a hand, he adds.
Incense, the women’s wear store where Ragini works, could be an exception to this widespread gender stereotyping. There’s not only a woman doorperson and security guard, but also women salespersons. Women, says the store manager, find it comfortable to be serviced by women. But he too is doubtful of women’s general capabilities. “[At other stores] stock has to be brought in from elsewhere. At footwear stores, salespersons have to group shoes into pairs. Women have limited knowledge of such tasks. At our store, all products are on display so it is easier,” he says.
The other exception is Good Earth, in Delhi’s Khan Market, which has always had women at the door. Geeta Devi has done the job for 10 years before being moved indoors. Her replacement is 27-year-old Pushpanjali. It is company policy to hire women, says Shashi Raman, assistant manager of Good Earth. “We began as a women-oriented organisation and it wasn’t until seven years ago that men were recruited,” says Raman. “Men were hired for handling cash and administration, which includes a lot of outdoor work,” adds floor manager Harleen Kaur. But who said women can’t work outdoors?
Source: DNA India