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India shines as women grapple with darkness

Times News network

Wednesday 4 February 2004

Article paru dans le Times of India, ?dition en ligne du 4 f?vrier 2004.

LUCKNOW : India may be shining, but her women for the most part, are still struggling in the dark ages of economic bondage.

The biggest predicament lies in that a woman has no autonomy over her income. There is still no recognition of her contribution as a ?bread winner’. "With the elections drawing, near people need to recognise that the ?feel good’ factor is for big corporates and the BJP alone".

?India Shining’ has failed to spread it’s warm glow to ordinary lower middle class families and women who are increasingly being indebted as a result of home and car loans. We should recognise it for what it is - an electoral stunt," warned Prof Roop Rekha Verma. She was speaking at a workshop on ?Strategies for Economic Empowerment of Women’ held at the Giri Institute of Development Studies, in Lucknow on Tuesday.

Dwelling on how women have traditionally been assigned the task of carrying out unpaid house-bound duties, Prof Verma stressed on the need for such duties to be considered economic contributions to society. Since this constitutes pre-determined work sans adequate compensation or creativity, mundane tasks such as cooking, washing, raising children get reduced to a drudgery even as the woman is denied the right to choose.

"Without an adequate knowledge pool and skills, a majority of women are employed in the irregularised, marginal or primary sector while her male counterpart continues to dominate the lucrative secondary and tertiary sectors. Globalisation too, unfortunately, appears not to have made a dent, with the result that women are now obliged to carry out their household chores while simultaneously juggle the responsibilities of a job," she said.

Principal secretary, rural development, NC Bajpai noted that it was not till the 9th Plan that the need for an integrated approach for economic, social and political justice was felt, and as part of this, female literacy and economic independence were considered essential. DM Diwakar from Giri Institute stressed that piecemeal efforts were not adequate to tackle exploitation, but that economic and political space needed to be created.

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