There are times when social media gives valuable feedback to the state that can provide direction for policy planning. After Eid, some women employees of the state tweeted that the state must provide two holidays for this major festival. Their demand is rational and needs a positive response from the state.
The tweets highlighted that there is a strong presence of women in the state’s education department. Other departments too have a sizable number of women. At the same time, women bear the responsibility for most of the domestic chores. On the second day of Eid, when everybody in the community is in a festive mood, employees in the government sector have to go to their respective places of work because the state provides only one holiday for Eid. This may not be so difficult for men, but for women it may become burdensome.
Policy and planning must be sensitive to social needs and customs. It enables the government to win the trust of the people and build connect with them.
A tweet by a woman observed that such policy decisions have a larger impact on women in the workforce. “Our society still accords domestic roles to women. Therefore, many women will find themselves being discouraged from having professional careers,” the Twitter user said, while demanding two holidays for Eid.
It may be an overstatement that women will be discouraged from having a professional career because they don’t have two holidays for Eid. Having said that, one must admit that women who have to go for work on the day all others in the community are home may have to listen to barbs and comments from within the family or community.
Even nationally, one cannot expect work to happen in offices on the days when everyone in the community chooses to be home.
The tweets posted by the women employees have resonated with Kashmiris across the Valley. All private offices in Kashmir have at least two holidays for Eid in order to accommodate local concerns. The yearly calendar of holidays for Jammu and Kashmir can be rationalized. But it is completely in order that two holidays should be provided across the state for Eid.