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Lalita Panicker

Lalita Panicker leads the opinion section at Hindustan Times. Over a 33-year career, she has specialised in gender issues, reproductive health, child rights, politics and social engineering.

Articles by Lalita Panicker

Mediation matters: A need for more women

The new government must eliminate institutional barriers for women mediators. A key step is ensuring adequate funding and training.

Thane, India - May ,20, 2024: Womens participating in the voting process at a polling station in Thane
A womans voter appears for voting at a polling station at road no 22 in thane ,in Thane, in Mumbai, India, on, Monday, May,20, 2024. ( Praful Gangurde / HT Photo )
Published on Jun 08, 2024 11:45 PM IST

State needs to address the plight of domestic workers

It is hard to understand why more effort is not being made to make it easier for women to stay in the workforce.

There is no universal definition of occupational safety and health for domestic workers, and there is uncertainty regarding the responsibilities of employers in providing safe workplaces.(HT)
Published on May 25, 2024 10:00 PM IST

How SHGs influence women voters in India

As women realise that power at the grassroots can affect power structures all the way up to Parliament, greater empowerment is sure to follow.

Published on May 11, 2024 10:00 PM IST

In the shadow of war, Gaza women battle on

While the world waits for a political resolution to the crisis, more attention must be given to how the crisis in Gaza has impacted gender relations.

Palestinian women react as they sit on the rubble of a residential building housing their apartments, following an Israeli raid, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, April 18, 2024. REUTERS/Doaa Rouqa TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(REUTERS)
Published on Apr 27, 2024 10:08 PM IST

In parched cities, water brings women closer

Embracing innovative solutions to strengthen water quality testing, and embrace circular water economy principles can build resilience in water governance.

Women protest against the Karnataka government over ongoing water crisis. (PTI)
Published on Apr 06, 2024 08:12 PM IST

Women are leading the fight against TB

Awareness and early treatment are even more vital given that women and girls make up nearly one million of the estimated 2.8 million TB cases in India each year

Awareness and early treatment are even more vital given that women and girls make up nearly one million of the estimated 2.8 million TB cases in India each year (HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 23, 2024 09:13 PM IST

The continuing battle for bread and peace

We should remember that the fight for a woman’s right to nutritious food is a fight for a future where the promise of bread and peace is fulfilled for all.

A schoolgirl eats her free mid-day meal, distributed by a government-run primary school in New Delhi. (Reuters Photo)
Published on Mar 09, 2024 10:04 PM IST

Manipur women face trauma in relief camps

In many camps, there are 200 women to one toilet in most camps and often only open spaces for bathrooms

Many women have had to flee their homes to reach refugee camps as the violence spread (PTI Photo)
Updated on Feb 26, 2024 11:10 AM IST

View family planning through a gender lens

Building capacity among health workers, addressing intersectionality, and implementing innovative solutions can improve access to family planning services

A group of women at a public health centre in Vadodra, Gujarat. (Hindustan Times)
Published on Feb 10, 2024 09:50 PM IST

Fear of unsafe public spaces erodes women’s autonomy

The study argues that as the idea of the unsafe city has taken hold, women have been forced to restrict their own conduct in public while facing restraints

Women have been cast as vulnerable and in need of paternalistic protection and guardianship of the State and family. (HT File)
Published on Jan 27, 2024 10:05 PM IST

Empower women in emerging tech fields

India, with its considerable expertise in all new technologies, can take many steps to build equal access to them for women

Many experts have hailed AI as a creator of opportunities to override tasks which have an inbuilt bias, such as hiring for the workplace or performance evaluation(Shutterstock)
Published on Jan 13, 2024 11:25 PM IST

Women must be heard in climate decision-making

The government must support the voice of women in the response to the climate crisis through increased participation in policy design

Women shout slogans during a protest for climate justice and a cease fire in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 9, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky(REUTERS)
Published on Dec 30, 2023 10:13 PM IST

Lalita Panicker picks her favourite reads of 2023

To understand what is happening in Gaza, it is necessary to look back at the many works on the subject, especially Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sara Roy, which provides a deep understanding into the origins of the conflict

In a broken and desperate land (Pluto Press)
Updated on Dec 29, 2023 05:42 PM IST

Women's power surges in political landscape

The real testimony to women’s political rights will come when they hold significant positions of power across the political spectrum

Women display their voter's identity card sitting in the back of a truck in Chachiyawas, near Ajmer, India, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP)
Published on Dec 16, 2023 10:00 PM IST

In Delhi murder verdict, a plea to make cities safe

Youth-led decision-making can contribute to the betterment of the cities, while also empowering youth as informed and active citizens

Soumya Vishwanathan was shot dead in her car in Vasant Kunj around 3.30am on September 30, 2008, while she was returning home from work.
Published on Dec 02, 2023 10:19 PM IST

In Gaza war, women and children suffer most

There should be a much greater international effort to protect Gaza’s women and children, who are the most vulnerable in this conflict.

Palestinian women line up to buy fresh bread next to destroyed buildings at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on November 4, 2023.(AFP)
Published on Nov 18, 2023 10:17 PM IST

Trafficking calls for urgent State action

Child trafficking networks uncovered in MP and Rajasthan, highlight gaps in the justice system

Human trafficking is a manifestation of the larger issues of gender inequity and economic and social marginalisation, which gets further aggravated with weak law enforcement responses. (Representative image- HT Archives)
Published on Nov 04, 2023 10:37 PM IST

Women as building blocks of liveable cities

The Mukta project in Odisha empowers women through self-help groups and aims to increase the involvement and empowerment of women

While we wait for the day when 33% of parliamentarians will be women, we should take note of and applaud several initiatives taken by state governments across the country to put actual power in the hands of women(Photo by Sunil Ghosh / Hindustan Times)
Published on Oct 21, 2023 10:35 PM IST

Women farm workers need workplace safety

Measures such as collecting data, raising awareness, and creating safe spaces are needed to combat violence against women in agriculture.

Indian women farmers place paddy saplings at one place before replanting in a field at Tiuri village, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, July 10, 2021. Agriculture is the main livelihood of more than 50 percent of India's population. Daily laborer who works in the fields earns approximately USD $1.8 a day. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)(AP)
Published on Oct 07, 2023 10:00 PM IST

Brave new world of women entrepreneurs

The gig economy presents a significant opportunity for women's entrepreneurship, and the government needs to support the private sector in its business models.

 The existing women-led enterprises employ 30% of India’s female workforce with the capability to create around 150 million jobs by 2030 (PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
Published on Sep 27, 2023 01:11 AM IST

Ensure justice for women prisoners

Overcrowding in Indian prisons is a major issue, especially for women prisoners who face isolation and lack of legal aid. Rehabilitation efforts are essential

Rehabilitation efforts have to begin when the women are in prison,(Vipin Kumar / HT File)
Published on Sep 09, 2023 09:52 PM IST

Urban development needs a gender lens

We need thoughtful urban planning along with equitable allocation of public services, keeping in mind the unique needs of historically disadvantaged communities

The inclusion of gender perspectives in urban development is a crucial aspect of the Urban20 (U20) framework in the G20 process.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Published on Aug 26, 2023 10:22 PM IST

Educate men and boys on gender sensitivity

The horrific attack on women in Manipur highlights the need for societal change in India to address gender-based violence

We need to identify men and boys who are willing to be at the forefront of change. (AP)
Published on Aug 12, 2023 08:54 PM IST

Empower women to combat violence

Gram sakhis and women's forums in Kishangarh, Ajmer are promoting helpline numbers to deal with violence against women, covering 33 villages in the district.

A group of village women show inked fingers, after casting their votes during the local body elections at Bikamau Bhawanipur polling booth in Lucknow’s Bakshi ka Talaab, on Thursday. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Published on Jul 23, 2023 12:06 AM IST

Universal basic income can be a game changer

Universal Basic Income (UBI), if implemented on a larger scale, could be a game changer for women's empowerment in India.

UBI can enhance women’s dignity and reduce their domestic work burden as they then have the ability to buy time and labour-saving gadgets such as fridges, mixers and washing machines.(File Photo)
Updated on Jul 09, 2023 10:09 AM IST

Manipur’s women and children need succour

Politics has to take a backseat in the face of this human tragedy and the priority should be to provide succour to these defenceless women and children first

Many women and children have had to flee their burnt homes as the violence spread, trudging through jungles to reach refugee camps.(PTI)
Published on Jun 24, 2023 08:23 PM IST

Push for more women in renewable energy

With a growing focus on the climate crisis, it would be wise to use its presidency of the G20 to push for women’s representation in the renewable energy sector.

Policymakers have to work to advance gender parity in this field. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jun 12, 2023 11:17 AM IST

Through G20, focus on women’s nutrition

Investing in women’s nutrition can have positive health outcomes. If India takes the lead here, the effects will be felt long after its presidency of G20 ends

If India takes the lead on female nutrition at G20, the effects will be felt not just nationally but across the Global South, and yield dividends long after its presidency of G20 ends (HT File)
Updated on May 27, 2023 08:58 PM IST

In Kashmir, a story of women empowerment

Nighat Shafi Pandit, chairperson of HELP, has doggedly worked in the state for years, providing help to women who have suffered in the conflict.

Nighat Shafi Pandit of the HELP Foundation. (Photo credit:
Published on Apr 29, 2023 08:48 PM IST

India’s welcome focus on women-led development

After the conclusion of India’s G20 presidency, women-led development must find a permanent place as a priority

Women across G20 countries must be assured of sustainable livelihoods. (HT Photo)
Published on Apr 16, 2023 11:52 AM IST
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