21 March 2007

A Woman's Place!

"In most parts of Tamil Nadu, society is patrilineal where inheritance goes from father to son. Women rarely head households and their historical role has been that of a domestic and reproductive member of a family. The secondary position of women in Tamil Nadu is reflected starkly in the extent to which they have no control over their labour and wages. The workforce of the State finds that more women engaged in agriculture than in manufacturing or services.

The value placed on women's work is less than that of men, and even in the service sector domestic work, nursing, teaching or secretarial jobs are set aside for them while the high-end tasks are performed by men. The same is true in the manufacturing sector where women work as beedi workers, as manual labour for cotton textiles, fish, food processing and the match industry. They do intermittent jobs at extremely low wages, for long hours under unsatisfactory working conditions. They face sexual harassment and intimidation. In rural areas, women labourers are harassed more than men and few have leadership positions in unions."
[Human Development Resource Report, 2003]

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