Monday Musings: Empower Women with Social Innovations

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), November 20, 2017 | Go to article overview

Monday Musings: Empower Women with Social Innovations


India, Nov. 19 -- On Friday, 17 November, Anil Gupta, the passionate promoter and crusader of social innovations, made an important point while speaking at the fifth National Conference on Social Innovation organised by the Pune International Centre.

Gupta stressed on the need for social innovations for the under-privileged women in the country. The presence of innovations are least in sectors populated by women, he pointed out, and cited harvesting of tea-leaves as an example. How many thousands of hand movements does a woman make during a day's work while plucking tea leaves at a tea garden! Can't some innovation make her work and life easier, he wondered.

Gupta is certainly right, and indeed, an area where social innovations are most urgently required, are in the area of waste-picking. Once again, a sector dominated by women, the waste-pickers of our country and our city work in subhuman conditions which should force all of us to hang our heads in shame.

On November 15, our pages carried a detailed report with telling pictures of SWaCH waste-pickers surrounded by heaps of garbage bags and segregating the garbage inside bags with their bare hands. (15 November, 'Citizens' failure forces SWaCH women to segregate filthy garbage in Pune'). Apart from rotting food packed in plastic bags, these women have to pick used sanitary napkins and condoms and throw them in the right bin at the sorting shed. They don't like wearing gloves provided to them because their hands sweat quickly and they find them inconvenient.

SWaCH is handsomely funded by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and this corporatised-NGO parades these women at international conferences and pats its own back for work well done. …

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