Appointment of Women in Public Service: Elizabeth Kuruvila

[Speech made in support of the Resolution moved in the House by A G Menon in support of the appointment of women in public service, Proceedings of the Travancore State Legislative Council XIV, no. 7, 1st Session, 25 April 1929, pp. 537-38.]


MRS ELIZABETH KURUVILA (Nominated) :         Sir, in rising to support the resolution moved by Mr A G Menon, I am rather distressed to see that not many male members of this House are enthusiastic enough about this motion. Of the chief objections that might be raised this motion, I am quite aware. Objections have been made to me that the place of women is in their homes. Perhaps I myself would not have been here as the representative of the Women of Travancore if such an objection would have been entertained by the Government. Another objection has been raised and that is the appointment of women makes the problem of unemployment among men more acute. This is a very legitimate and serious objection. But at the same time, it is for this House to recognize that there is a very growing need, a demand for widening the field of work for women. The number of educated women is fast increasing. A number of representations have been made by educated women to the Dewan that their condition is hard and that they should get equal chances of employment along with men. It may be clearly seen that women should be given more scope for work in public service and that their field of work should be widened. Sooner or later the public will have to recognise that such a thing will have to done in changing the social order of events. The country will see more and more educated women and some of them will have to be appointed in public service. That is also a fact to be recognised.

Thirdly, women’s contribution to public life is also a fact which we have to recognise and gracefully acknowledge. We have to understand and I am sure the House understands and the public recognises, that women, along with men, contribute to the social progress of the country, and unless they are given equal chances with men, they cannot contribute to its success satisfactorily.

MR R KESAVA PILLAI (Kottarakkara cum Kunnathur) :          May I know from the Lady Member if she would have recruits to the Police and the Army from the women population?

MRS ELIZABETH KURUVILA (Nominated) :         That it not the point. What I say is, women should be given equal chances to play their part in public service. Women, generally, do not apply for jobs in the Excise, Police, and Forest Departments.

MR A S DAMODARAN ASAN (Mavelikkara cum Kathikappalli):       Are women under any disability in getting appointments in the departments to which they are duly qualified?

MRS ELIZABETH KURUVILA (Nominated) : I do not think there is anything like that. As far as matters have gone at present, the fact that one is a woman should not stand as a bar in the matter of getting an appointment. Say, for clerical posts, I am sure they are competent enough to hold and carry on work efficiently with men.

MR N K KRISHNA PILLAI (Neyyattinkara) :       Is the member aware that in certain Western countries even women are recruited to the constabulary?

MRS ELIZABETH KURUVILA (Nominated) :   Yes. But here we have not come to that extent. Women have been appointed as Magistrates and in certain places they are enrolled as Vakils because of their merit. It is that fact we have to consider. If they are duly qualified, and if they are competent for the work, they must be given that particular work. All of us are aware that women have a very integral part to play in ordering the public life of a country. Even if the motion is lost now, the same question will recur again and again and unless women occupy their legitimate place, this question is not going to be solved and the country will be the poorer for it. I strongly support this resolution for these reasons.

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