Saving Women from occupational hazards : An area of serious neglect

For  the International women's Day Prof Swaminathan made the following statement: On International Women’s Day, there are discussions all over the world on methods of promoting gender equity and justice. Particular attention is paid to the technological empowerment of women and also to elimination of gross discrepancies in recognition such as fellowship of scientific academies, and higher positions in the world of science and education.  I would like to draw attention to the urgent need for addressing issues relating to occupational hazards in gender specific activities. Some examples are, rolling of cigarettes and beedies, prawn peeling, cashew handling, salt manufacture, paddy transplanting and many other such activities which require considerable amount of physical labour and exposure to occupation related diseases. Therefore, on this day, we should decide to identify and eliminate gender specific health problems.  Job opportunities without adverse health impact need to be promoted.  For this purpose, institutional frameworks like the Women’s Biotechnology Park set up in Chennai by MSSRF, DBT and the Government of Tamil Nadu are needed on a large scale.  This year the International Women’s’ Day could be the starting point for a “Skilled Jobs for Women without health risks revolution”.

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