2nd June 2017, New Delhi
A National Consultation to disseminate the findings of the study under the GrOW project ‘Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women’s economic empowerment programmes and policies’ was organized in New Delhi on 2nd June 2017 by Mobile Creches, the advocacy partner in India under the project.
The consultation was attended by the academia, civil society groups, women’s groups, trade unions, nongovernmental organizations and the local research partners. Ms. Devika Singh welcomed the participants and Ms. Ratna Sudarshan delivered the keynote address. The data on India was presented by the research team in three sessions on, the social organization of care in the field, the precarious conditions of paid work, and the (im)balance between paid work and unpaid work of women and ways to convert the burden of women into ‘Double Boon’. The team received many useful suggestions on improving the presentation of data for policy uptake.
The participants sought further explanation of quantitative data in the study, which was done by elucidating the rich qualitative data available from the field. The questions and suggestions from the participants helped in further fine tuning the research paper and the other research outputs including the policy briefs on the two WEE programmes. Discussions were also held among participants on future strategies and ways by which the study could feed into the already existing work of many organizations and campaigns in the field. The group also collectively brainstormed on future policy intervention, policy advocacy and new research needed.
Women in paid work from low income families are engaged in poorly paid, precarious employment, even as they are overburdened with unpaid care work responsibilities. This double burden has depleting consequences for both their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as those of their children. For women in these contexts to move from a double burden to a “double boon”, women’s economic empowerment programmes have to both improve the options and conditions of women’s paid work and recognise, reduce and redistribute their unpaid care work burdens.
Rajasthan: Dungarpur and Udaipur (May 2017)
Dissemination of findings in the two districts of Dungarpur and Udaipur were carried out in the month of May 2017 by Astha, which was the local partner organization for the GROW research study. The detailed findings from the study were shared with Astha in April, which were used to orient district and block level officials about the study and invite them to the dissemination event scheduled for the 29th May 2017. The findings were also discussed with the Sarpanchs of the villages where the research was conducted, and with the women and men who participated during the data collection exercise. Invitation to attend the dissemination event was also extended to the villagers. Hence the run up to the 29th May dissemination event included a series of meetings with government officials, villagers, including the local tribal groups, and members of the right to food campaign.
The dissemination event on 29th May was a full day event with participation from local villagers, local tribal groups including the Rajasthan Adivasi Adhikar Manch (Rajasthan Platform for Tribal Rights), Adivasi Vikas Manch (Tribal Development Platform), and Wagad Mazdoor Kisan Sanghatan (Wagad Workers and Farmers Group). Representatives of the Right to Food campaign also participated in the event. The District President of Dungarpur Madhavlal Barath, and the President of the Bichiwada Panchayat Samiti Radha Devi were the chief guests. In all there were over 90 participants at the event.
The research findings were shared with the participants through a power point presentation in Hindi. The findings created a lot of interest and discussion among the participants, women further affirmed similar experiences and there were lively debates within the audience. The policy brief on MGNEGA (the selected WEE programme under the research study) was also disseminated. The chief guests also spoke about the initiatives they have been taking to reduce and redistribute women’s unpaid work burdens and improve the conditions of paid work. Radha Devi particularly assured the audience that she will endeavor to take these issues further in the government circles by using the research findings and evidence shared at the event.
Astha also realized that their own workers and tribal campaign leaders lacked the understanding of gender differences in unpaid and paid work and has decided to introduce this topic in their regular trainings with the workers and tribal leaders. The first of these trainings is scheduled for the 22-23 August 2017 wherein the ISST GROW research team has been invited as the trainers.
Madhya Pradesh: Ujjain and Indore (June - July 2017)
In Madhya Pradesh, the local research partner SEWA carried out group meetings with mainly women informal workers in Indore, Ujjain and Bhopal to disseminate findings from the GROW research carried out in Indore and Ujjain . A total of 40 such meetings were held wherein altogether 927 women participated. The group meetings were followed by a bigger event in Indore organized by SEWA on the 18 July 2017 to disseminate the research findings with SEWA workers and members, and government officials. A booklet was published in Hindi based on the findings from the research which was distributed at the event.
Forty women participated at the event on 18 July, the Deputy Director of the state Women and Child Development Ministry, Shri. Manjula Tiwari attended the event as the chief guest. The findings from the study were shared by Shikha Joshi from SEWA, two films on the theme – ‘Who Cares’ and ‘Humey bhi Kuch Kehna Hai’ (We Too Want to Say Something ) were screened at the event. Women participants responded with suggestions to improve the balance between unpaid and paid work of women through provisions of anganwadis (child care centres) and jhoola ghar (crèches for younger children), easy access to ration shops under Public Distribution System (PDS), better and decent job opportunities, and implementation of social security and welfare for dependents. Shri. Majula Tiwari suggested that the findings from the study should be shared with other departments of the government, particularly the social justice department.
As a next step, SEWA plans to meet face to face with other government officials especially the officials of the state labour department. SEWA plans to consciously include the findings of the study in its campaigns and advocacy with the government and private employers. The data from the study will particularly help mould SEWA’s campaign to demand state run crèches or day care centres for younger children for families belonging to the low income bracket.