Op-Ed: How Pratham is Challenging Tradition in India
Here’s a statistic that may surprise you: Only 27% of women in India participate in the labor force. The battle these women face, however, is not with the government; it is with their husbands, brothers and neighbors.
Sarita Gupta, Pratham USA Senior Development Advisor, writes about this issue after a recent visit to New Delhi and a Pratham vocational training center in Adarsh Nagar.
In a society that claims to be a democracy, many Indians still refuse to allow their daughters, sisters or wives to work. In response to this, Pratham has developed vocational training in trades more palatable to conservative families, such as tailoring, beauty and bedside assistance. Staff go door-to-door in Adarsh Nagar, convincing families to let their daughters enroll and inviting them to inspect the center and its safe, supportive environment.
With a nurse’s aid starting salary of INR 3,000-5,000 a month—effectively doubling or tripling the typical family’s earnings—you would think there would not be much resistance. Sadly, there is. Sarita cites a New York Times account of women in a nearby village fighting for their right to work, and she praises Pratham for addressing this issue head on.