Lalita Panicker

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
In India, many women in general and those with disabilities in particular have to face poverty, poor health conditions, little or no income, lower education levels and isolation. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
In India, many women in general and those with disabilities in particular have to face poverty, poor health conditions, little or no income, lower education levels and isolation. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Focusing on women with disabilities

UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:25 AM IST
Government schemes, which have been a lifeline for so many women in these trying times, must be responsive to the needs of women with disabilities. For a start, the government could use its robust grassroots systems with its health workers to create awareness in families about the need to not compromise on health and education for women with disabilities.
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The pandemic has left women farmers even more economically vulnerable, and added the burden of caring for out-of-school children and the sick and elderly. Covid-19 has also decreased remittances to women farmers left at home. With more migrants coming home, there is also greater demand on the land, putting the tenuous hold of women on land in greater jeopardy. (Getty Images)
The pandemic has left women farmers even more economically vulnerable, and added the burden of caring for out-of-school children and the sick and elderly. Covid-19 has also decreased remittances to women farmers left at home. With more migrants coming home, there is also greater demand on the land, putting the tenuous hold of women on land in greater jeopardy. (Getty Images)

Agri-reforms must focus on women farmers

PUBLISHED ON JAN 09, 2021 08:41 PM IST
Women have been part of the agrarian crisis for a very long time, though largely overlooked. Women farmers need access to all aspects of the sector from technical training and pricing to marketing and finances
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The(HTPhoto)
The(HTPhoto)

Covid-19 has led to a rise in child marriages

UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2020 07:59 PM IST
With so much uncertainty about when schools will reopen, there is every likelihood of girls not returning to school and this increases the danger of their being married early. Without the safety net of schools, the girl child being forced into marriage is cut off from any possible communication with a teacher or counselor.
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The skill development centres are proposed to be in prominent areas next to busy markets, railway stations or other public institutions so that women do not have to navigate lonely and unsafe passages while on their way to these centres(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
The skill development centres are proposed to be in prominent areas next to busy markets, railway stations or other public institutions so that women do not have to navigate lonely and unsafe passages while on their way to these centres(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

For women, Mumbai holds a promise

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON DEC 12, 2020 09:28 PM IST
A chapter “Gender, Special Groups and Social Equity” in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s revised Draft Development Plan, 2034 focuses on how to make the commercial capital friendlier for women in several crucial ways
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Social distancing and isolation have pushed the young from poor families even more to the margins than before(Shutterstock)
Social distancing and isolation have pushed the young from poor families even more to the margins than before(Shutterstock)

Focusing on mental health of young people

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 28, 2020 10:23 PM IST
Mental health issues manifest themselves in many ways, from insomnia to eating disorders to emotional swings to self-harming, all of which can be treated given the right interventions
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While Sharma deserves criticism, past chairpersons of this organisation have been unimpressive, to say the least.(HT PHOTO)
While Sharma deserves criticism, past chairpersons of this organisation have been unimpressive, to say the least.(HT PHOTO)

Strengthen the NCW to effect real change | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON OCT 31, 2020 09:53 PM IST
The NCW should be an organisation which can step up to the plate and fulfil its mandate, but that does not seem likely given its current composition
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In such a situation of tension, women are bound to suffer a variety of mental challenges, ranging from depression to anxiety to a feeling of worthlessness(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
In such a situation of tension, women are bound to suffer a variety of mental challenges, ranging from depression to anxiety to a feeling of worthlessness(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Confront the mental health challenge | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON OCT 17, 2020 08:01 PM IST
There are several ways to reach out to women at risk in this time, and this is a time when they need the most support
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We need to showcase these and highlight the experiences of women in these fields(Shutterstock)
We need to showcase these and highlight the experiences of women in these fields(Shutterstock)

We need women in the manufacturing sector

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON OCT 03, 2020 07:04 PM IST
The government must make more women aware of job opportunities in this sector and emphasise that most companies engaged in manufacturing and heavy industries, by and large, do not compromise on the safety and health of their employees
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With the focus on boosting domestic capabilities, women should be brought to the centre of a new ecosystem(PTI)
With the focus on boosting domestic capabilities, women should be brought to the centre of a new ecosystem(PTI)

Creating a new work ecosystem for women

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON SEP 20, 2020 05:43 AM IST
The government has the road map all drawn up. It has to now actively push women by providing information about the gaps in demand and supply, provide the skilling required and create an enabling environment for easy finances
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The devastation wreaked by Covid-19 has hurt people across India in numerous ways. While there has been much talk of safety net schemes and programmes for the rural poor, the same cannot be said for the urban poor.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
The devastation wreaked by Covid-19 has hurt people across India in numerous ways. While there has been much talk of safety net schemes and programmes for the rural poor, the same cannot be said for the urban poor.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Design a safety net for poor urban women

PUBLISHED ON SEP 05, 2020 08:00 PM IST
Perhaps one way would be to first create a database and consider some form of cash incentive to at least tide them over at a time when the cost of food, medicines and other necessities has gone up.
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Trafficking and child abuse must be treated as more than just a legal problem. It has to be tackled at the community level(Hindustan Times)
Trafficking and child abuse must be treated as more than just a legal problem. It has to be tackled at the community level(Hindustan Times)

Ensure the safety of vulnerable children

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 07:27 PM IST
In these fraught times, children, especially the girl child, are much more vulnerable to trafficking. The government has to figure out more proactive ways to save them from the dangers that Covid-19 has heightened
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Women will then be left to tend the family, and in many cases, the family’s agricultural fields. Here, a concerted effort should be made to give them better tools to deal with agriculture in the form of easy to access loans and technology.(HTPhoto)
Women will then be left to tend the family, and in many cases, the family’s agricultural fields. Here, a concerted effort should be made to give them better tools to deal with agriculture in the form of easy to access loans and technology.(HTPhoto)

Covid-19: A dip in women in the workforce is likely | Opinion

UPDATED ON AUG 08, 2020 06:18 PM IST
The central and state governments and the private sector must come up with innovative solutions to make women a real part of the next phase of the growth story.
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A botched abortion can result in physical damage to the reproductive organs and psychological issues such as depression and stress(SHUTTERSTOCK)
A botched abortion can result in physical damage to the reproductive organs and psychological issues such as depression and stress(SHUTTERSTOCK)

Covid-19 exacerbates the risk of unsafe abortions | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2020 05:43 AM IST
The lack of safe abortion facilities will have an impact on both health and family planning long after the coronavirus crisis is overcome, both in terms of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Planning for this now is the only option
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Often the issue of mental health, especially for women, slips through the cracks(Getty Images)
Often the issue of mental health, especially for women, slips through the cracks(Getty Images)

Ensure mental health care is a top priority | Opinion

UPDATED ON JUL 12, 2020 05:38 AM IST
The coronavirus has occasioned a rethink in our health care systems and infrastructure in general. It is now time to put mental health into the mix and prepare for the future which will bring many more challenges on this front
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The law does not discriminate against a woman making choices in a marriage, nor does it lay down any code of conduct for women through which they can protect themselves from sexual violence. The interpretations are unnecessary when the law itself is clear(AP)
The law does not discriminate against a woman making choices in a marriage, nor does it lay down any code of conduct for women through which they can protect themselves from sexual violence. The interpretations are unnecessary when the law itself is clear(AP)

Respect women’s autonomy

UPDATED ON JUL 02, 2020 01:46 PM IST
A court ruling that not wearing accoutrements of matrimony invalidates marriage is a step in the wrong direction
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The government is trying its best to ensure that rations are increased but with migrant populations on the move, getting food to them is a problem(AP)
The government is trying its best to ensure that rations are increased but with migrant populations on the move, getting food to them is a problem(AP)

Covid-19 has highlighted India’s nutrition crisis | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker
UPDATED ON JUN 27, 2020 06:25 PM IST
As is always the case in situations of disasters and pandemics, those affected the most are women and children. India already bears a disproportionate burden of malnutrition in the world.
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In India, far more women are working in the field of childcare, in schools at the nursery level, and as health care providers in homes than men. In fact, with schools closing, their burden at home increases hugely(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)
In India, far more women are working in the field of childcare, in schools at the nursery level, and as health care providers in homes than men. In fact, with schools closing, their burden at home increases hugely(Diwakar Prasad/ Hindustan Times)

Covid-19: Focus on reproductive health

UPDATED ON JUN 14, 2020 06:05 AM IST
Women’s health is a vital issue. In this, reproductive health has to take precedence. Health services are not reaching them in time in many urban and rural areas. At a time when basic health services are stretched, it is quite likely that women’s health needs, both in the public system and at home, are not a priority
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At a time when medical resources and funds are stretched, women with disabilities are not a priority. This is not the case in India alone(AP Photo. Representative image)
At a time when medical resources and funds are stretched, women with disabilities are not a priority. This is not the case in India alone(AP Photo. Representative image)

Covid-19: Extend help to women with disabilities

UPDATED ON MAY 31, 2020 06:56 AM IST
For those with disabilities, being confined to limited spaces is par for the course. A holistic approach to changing society, making it more inclusive and accommodating should include paying special attention to those with special needs.
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The pandemic has shown us the weaknesses in our systems to protect the most vulnerable(Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)
The pandemic has shown us the weaknesses in our systems to protect the most vulnerable(Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)

Protect children from the fallout of Covid-19| Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAY 16, 2020 07:18 PM IST
This pandemic will leave behind orphans. This leaves children open to various forms of exploitation from being forced into child labour, sexual violence and begging. Many older children may have to stop going to school to look after their siblings
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A lesson to learn from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis is that the working conditions and remuneration for nurses should be drastically revised(ANI)
A lesson to learn from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis is that the working conditions and remuneration for nurses should be drastically revised(ANI)

Valuing nursing can transform health care

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAY 02, 2020 05:14 PM IST
That nursing does not attract enough people is seen from the poor ratio of 1.7 nurses and auxiliary medical staff to 1,000 people in India, 43% less than prescribed by the World Health Organization
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Across the country, women have proved their mettle in taking on the challenge posed by the virus(Diwakar Prasad / Hindustan Times)
Across the country, women have proved their mettle in taking on the challenge posed by the virus(Diwakar Prasad / Hindustan Times)

Covid-19: Use grassroots institutions in the battle| Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON APR 18, 2020 07:12 PM IST
Now more than ever, both the central and state governments need information on people so that they can make targeted interventions
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In India, such a situation can exacerbate the already weak position of women within the family — resources are normally limited for them, given that they are usually economically disempowered, and their voices are not heard(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
In India, such a situation can exacerbate the already weak position of women within the family — resources are normally limited for them, given that they are usually economically disempowered, and their voices are not heard(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

The lockdown is making women more vulnerable | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2020 04:56 PM IST
Gender-based violence tends to increase in crisis situations such as natural disasters, epidemics and conflict
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An NGO worker distributes masks to bus drivers and conductors, Kolkata, West Bengal, March 19, 2020(Samir Jana/Hindustan Times)
An NGO worker distributes masks to bus drivers and conductors, Kolkata, West Bengal, March 19, 2020(Samir Jana/Hindustan Times)

Involve women in the battle against Covid-19

PUBLISHED ON MAR 21, 2020 04:33 PM IST
Women are also primary caregivers within families. But within families, given the patriarchal system in which men make all vital decisions, women are likely to get the short end of the stick.
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Women tend to suffer disproportionately in conflict situations such as communal violence, and the aftermath impacts them at various levels(AP)
Women tend to suffer disproportionately in conflict situations such as communal violence, and the aftermath impacts them at various levels(AP)

Help women riot victims overcome the trauma | Opinion

PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2020 05:18 PM IST
The endeavour should be to help the victim fight back, and reclaim her life and home, and not be forced to stay in camps, like so many women riot victims have been forced to do
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Courts and law firms in India should now look inwards, and accept the inequality in the profession(ISTOCKPHOTO)
Courts and law firms in India should now look inwards, and accept the inequality in the profession(ISTOCKPHOTO)

The legal profession must ensure gender balance| Analysis

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2020 07:08 PM IST
Introduce flexible hours and crèches in courts and law firms. Address the pay gap. Honour women role models
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Women bus drivers could serve as role models for young girls and break the stereotype of what a girl can or cannot do(Hindustan Times)
Women bus drivers could serve as role models for young girls and break the stereotype of what a girl can or cannot do(Hindustan Times)

Ensuring safety and employment for women | Opinion

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON FEB 08, 2020 07:58 PM IST
There are several benefits of having more women bus drivers. For a start, buses will become less threatening spaces for women
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Women are leading the citizenship protests all across the country(Burhaan Kinu / Hindustan Times)
Women are leading the citizenship protests all across the country(Burhaan Kinu / Hindustan Times)

Opinion| A tribute to the women who showed us the way

UPDATED ON JAN 25, 2020 05:53 PM IST
If we were to put a face to the current protests across India, like many in the past, the ones that immediately come to mind are those of women from Padukone to Aishe Ghosh to the heroic women of Shaheen Bagh
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Indian activists holds placards as they protest against violence and crimes against women, Siliguri ,July 26, 2013(AFP/Getty Images)
Indian activists holds placards as they protest against violence and crimes against women, Siliguri ,July 26, 2013(AFP/Getty Images)

Tackling gender violence: Why police need to work with people

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON DEC 22, 2019 06:03 PM IST
Given the alarming rate at which crimes against women and girls is increasing, the police have to be made more aware of gender justice and its myriad forms. We have a strong government; there is no excuse not to begin these reforms.
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Networking is a huge part of the business world, and here, even successful women have complained about being kept out of the men’s club(SHUTTERSTOCK)
Networking is a huge part of the business world, and here, even successful women have complained about being kept out of the men’s club(SHUTTERSTOCK)

Gender biases restrict women entrepreneurs

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 23, 2019 07:03 PM IST
The statistics are not encouraging. Women entrepreneurs, according to a study, made up a mere 13.76% of the total number of entrepreneurs. This puts India at 52nd of 57 countries in the Index of Women Entrepreneurs
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Instead of imposing restrictions, there is another model, which is more effective and respects individual rights. Provide Education, healthcare, choice of contraception(AFP)
Instead of imposing restrictions, there is another model, which is more effective and respects individual rights. Provide Education, healthcare, choice of contraception(AFP)

Don’t impose controls to manage population

By Lalita Panicker | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON OCT 29, 2019 05:30 PM IST
Instead of punishing people with the two-child policy, give them information and tools to make a choice
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