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Calling out inequality is the key: Tarigami on Int’l Women’s Day

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SRINAGAR: On the occasion of International Women’s Day, CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Monday said that while celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, calling out inequality is the key.

Amid the challenging times, the perfect way to celebrate the day is to remind everybody that all men and women are equal and can work together in shaping the world.  Focusing on women’s issues and empowerment is what we should strive for.

The origin of International Women’s Day lies in the struggles of women workers against their exploitative working conditions and to assert their rights and this struggle continues to this day. Despite all the talk of women empowerment by the government, the reality is that the government itself undervalues women’s work in our country.

The lakhs of women employed by the government of India in its various schemes, like the anganwadi workers and helpers of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) of the National Health Mission (NHM) or the midday meal workers – all of whom cook and feed women and children, take care of their health etc – are not even recognised as workers and are paid a measly amount as ‘honorarium’ or ‘incentive’. In addition, India is one of the countries where the wage gap between men and women performing the same jobs, is very high. On average, women are paid only two-thirds of the wages paid to men.

Women workers, particularly the scheme workers, are fighting to be recognised as ‘workers’, for ‘wages’ for their work, not honorarium; women workers are fighting for equal wages, for maternity benefits, crèches and safe, sexual-harassment free workplaces and dignity at workplaces as well as in the society.

On this International Women’s Day, let us pledge ourselves for carrying forward such struggles.

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