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Muslim women?s plight highlighted

SOME STARTLING figures about the plight of Muslim women in Bhopal were revealed during the state level convention focusing on their economic problems, which was held at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani Park on Saturday.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 15:27 IST

SOME STARTLING figures about the plight of Muslim women in Bhopal were revealed during the state level convention focusing on their economic problems, which was held at Yadgar-e-Shahjahani Park on Saturday.

On the basis of an extensive survey conducted among Muslim women in Bhopal, Safia Akhtar said that they form just 3.23 percent of the workforce and most of them are employed in works like bidi making, incense stick manufacturing, zardozi, purse making and cracking betel nut—all jobs where workers are exploited and there are neither fixed working hours nor pay structure.

She said that 66 percent families amongst Muslims are poor and reel under unemployment. The figure of divorcee women was around 14 percent of all Muslim women.

As per the survey the monthly income of 69 percent of women was less than Rs 1,000 per month, leading to a situation where an astonishing 93 percent Muslim women living in poor localities are anaemic.

The meet was held under the aegis of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). The real issues facing the Muslim women were discussed at length in the convention. The national president of the organisation Suhasini Ali was the chief guest on the occasion.

The AIDWA came down on the government for allowing liquor shops in areas having Muslim population. The speakers said that these localities do not have proper medical facilities. At the conclave, the speakers demanded that government should ensure that women working in zardozi and bidi-making get proper wages.

The government was urged to open schools in these areas especially for girls and civil dispensaries should be opened in poor localities thickly populated by Muslims.

Gulshan Bano of Bhopal, Raise Bi from Jabalpur and other Muslim women from Bhind, Hoshangabad and Morena put up their views at the meet. The call for fighting fundamentalism and social evils was given. The other issues that were discussed concerned marriage, divorce, meher et al, according to Neena Sharma, the state general secretary of the organisation.

Prominent among those present in the meet included AIDWA National General Secretary Sudha Sundaram, Sandhya Shaily, Anwar Jahan, Urmila Singh, Lila Shrivastava, apart from scores of Muslim women.