COMMENTARY: The pregnant cashier by Jelieta E. Mariveles-Ruca

I was about to pay the wine I bought in that section when I noticed her agony. I stared at her and observed her while still in line. But when it was my turn to pay the wine, I talked to her and asked her if she was standing the whole day while performing her cashiering work. She told me, "Yes ma'am, because we are prohibited to sit down."

I asked her if she talked the matter to the management but she said she is afraid and she thinks that if she brings the matter, she might lose her job. She said her job is more important to her because she cannot feed her kid in the future, so better to suffer now. I pitied her. I asked her how many pregnant women were working in this mall and she told me there were two– the other was a sales lady who was also standing eight hours a day.

The cashier was seven months pregnant. I asked how she felt. She told me she was suffering numbness in her legs and she noticed that the baby seemed to be getting low already even as she was not expecting to labor because it is still seven months. Did the management notice her suffering? I think it didn't.

While leaving, I told her one of these days I will help you. I thought of sending communication to groups concerned about women. Of course I thought of GABRIELA where I belong. However, because I was hospitalized due to my myoma, I forgot her but remembered her again when I bought something last May 25. Falling in line again in the wine section, I remembered I promised her, so I texted Mae Templa who is active in GABRIELA and asked her how we could help this woman.

Mae told me to address the matter to GABRIELA Office. When I reached the cashier, I asked the cashier that if I was going to write NCCC Management, where would I give it? She told me to go to the information desk. There, I was told to go to Customer Service. I went to this office and I talked to the staff there. They asked me about my concern or problem. I told them I would like to call the attention of
the management about the pregnant cashier.

They gave me a piece of paper to write the matter. I stated there that I personally saw the pregnant cashier standing eight hours and suffering. I put my suggestion there to give her special consideration and give her a chair to sit on while performing her job. Then I told the staff I will send a letter to the NCCC Management copy furnished the office of Councilor Angela Librado as chair of the committee on women and Children in Sanguniang Panlunsod and the Office of Gabriela.

Much to my surprise, while on my way home, the NCCC Customer Service texted me and told me that the pregnant cashier was transferred already to the Cash Room. I even asked them if she would be given a chair in this new assignment and they told me "Yes, Ma'am!"

The following day, May 26, I sent a letter to the NCCC Management extending my thanks to them for its immediate response to the situation. I even expressed my happiness that the pregnant cashier was given an opportunity to enjoy her womanhood even in her working area because to be pregnant is not an easy task and establishments like malls should be aware also on gender issues.

How many Delhia Jamils are suffering in their working area because they are women? How many of us are aware of this situation?

The situation encouraged me to continue my fight for women's welfare and emancipation so that there will be no woman like Delhia Jamil who will suffer anymore.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Jelieta E. Mariveles-Ruca, 37, recently graduated  from her PhD in Education at the University of Southeastern Philippines. She is an active member of Gabriela and the Alliance for Concerned Teachers. She is presently the president of the faculty of the Catalunan Grande Elementary School Teachers' Association).