Recognise and reduce unpaid work by women: Activists to society, govt
A study titled ‘Recognizing, Reducing & Redistributing Women’s Unpaid Work’ noted, “Unequal burden of unpaid and care work is a major human rights issue – it restricts, especially poor women from enjoying basic rights – health, education, training, public participation.dehradun Updated: Jul 14, 2017 21:10 IST
DEHRADUN: Activists called upon the society and government to give due recognition to crucial but unpaid works of women and to take steps for reducing the time spent by them on those works at the cost of enjoying their basic rights.
A study titled ‘Recognizing, Reducing & Redistributing Women’s Unpaid Work’ released at a state-level consultation workshop in Dehradun on Friday noted, “Unequal burden of unpaid and care work is a major human rights issue – it restricts, especially poor women from enjoying basic rights – health, education, training, public participation.” The study aimed at recognizing the unpaid work activities by women and girls and chalking out strategies for reducing and redistributing their workload with the involvement of family, society and government.
The study was conducted by Pithoragarh-based Association for Rural Planning and Action (ARPAN) with the help of the United Nations (UN) Women-India and Action Aid organization in the state last year. In Uttarakhand, the study was conducted with Dalit and tribal women engaged in agriculture work in three gram sabhas of Pithoragarh district. Out of the 393 households covered, only 66 had women heads of family. Average monthly income of the households was found to be R 900 (for female) and R 3000 (for male) per month. Out of the studied households, 324 families had their own land, out of which only 19% women had land ownership rights. This study was also conducted in Maharashtra and Telangana with women construction labourers and domestic workers.
In the study, it was found that women were spending up to 63 hours per week on agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing activities, up to 15 hours per week on chores like cooking and up to 14 hours per week for general childcare among other unpaid activities. As many as 35% of women studied were found working as casual labourers for an average of 48 hours per week.
During the workshop, various policy suggestions and schemes related to energy, water, care and livelihood were discussed which could help in reducing the workload of women and make them economically and socially empowered.
“Based on the suggestions received from various experts, we will now take up the matter at policy level with the state government to take steps through which the hours spent by women on unpaid work can be effectively reduced,” said Renu Thakur, chief functionary of ARPAN that works on women empowerment at the grassroots. The survey in Uttarakhand was held with the help of household questionnaires, focused group discussions, key informant interviews and case studies, she added.
“We will also conduct awareness programs to sensitize women about the various schemes available for their welfare,” said cabinet minister Prakash Pant, the chief guest to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the workshop.