Since its establishment, Kerala’s Beverages Corporation has always been a male-dominated arena where employing women in beverages outlet was either dismissed downright or even considered.
Well, until now.
With the appointment of Shiny Rajeev in Ernakulam’s Kanakkankadav beverages outlet, things seem to be looking up for women in the sector as Kerala’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has come to the decision of including more women for job positions in beverages outlets.
The 43-year old, who made it to the PSC’s rank list of Lower Division Clerk (LDC), has been assigned the duty of keeping a track on the stock and sale of variously branded liquor.
But Shiny’s journey to where she has reached today began from a very different ambition. With the aim of becoming a teacher, she finished her B.Ed in social science and appeared for High School Assistant (HSA) examination of PSC.
However, she could not make it to the rank list for the teaching staff and ended up bagging the position of last grade assistant in Puthanvelikkara Panchayat office three years ago. It was at the same time that job prospects for the liquor industry opened up and Shiny decided to take the plunge.
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She had appeared for the exam conducted for Kerala State Beverages Corporation in 2010 and managed to secure the 526th rank in the exam. Despite clinching a good rank, Shiny found that only men were selected for the corporation, even if they had secured much lower ranks.
Enraged with the discrimination, Shiny had to get embroiled in a legal battle with the authorities to get the job she had been ranklisted for. Teaming up with six other women, she filed a writ in the High court in 2012, where they had included that they were quite open to working even in beverages outlets.
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The only glitch came in the form of Kerala Abkari Act, which kept women away from being appointed for sale of liquor. However, following the writ, the court observed that the gender-based discrimination while appointing from the published rank list did not make any sense and deemed the practice as unconstitutional in April. And thus, Shiny got the job!
Shiny had taken charge of Kanakkankadavu outlet on Thursday. With working hours between 10 am to 9 pm, she has been faring well and finds great support from her husband Rajeev, who is a farmer and children Charvakan and Sabari. “The job is not difficult and that my colleagues have been quite cooperative right from the very beginning,” she told Mathrubhumi, a local daily.
Appointment of Shiny in the beverage outlet is indeed a landmark move in the history of Kerala, breaking out of gender discrimination and opening up job opportunities for more women in one of the largest sectors in the state.