Empowering India’s Women Cotton Workers Reduces the Use of Water and Chemicals

Empowering India’s Women Cotton Workers Reduces the Use of Water and Chemicals

by Sangeeta Haindl
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The many benefits of #GenderEquality in #India's cotton fields http://bit.ly/2dvoCBM #sustdev @SangeetaHaindl

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Monday, October 10, 2016 - 8:00am



The UK gender pay gap will not close for more than fifty years unless action is taken to tackle it now, according to Deloitte. Current inequalities between pay rates for men and women may not be eradicated before 2069. So, if in the West we are so far behind on this issue, what chances do women cotton workers have in India? Here, women have few rights and are often underpaid, despite their vital role in cotton production. The average income for women in rural India is just 77 percent of the men’s income.

There are approximately four million cotton farmers, with about 45 million people employed in all the cotton production and processing in India; women account for 70 percent of the cotton planting and 90 percent of the handpicking. Improving their rights and income will result in higher cotton yields and improves profits by as much as 40 percent, says a new report by CottonConnect. And what’s more, working with women has been shown to reduce the use of water and chemical pesticides by 43 percent! ‘Planting the Seed: A Journey to Gender Equality In the Cotton Industry’ by CottonConnect found that without specific outreach efforts, only four percent of women join any form of training programmes that can assist them in their roles as farmers and champions within their communities. Even with recent changes in Indian law that improves rights for females, it is rare for women to be landowners.

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Photo CreditCottonConnect

Sangeeta Haindl writes on women and children; sustainability; climate change; social enterprise and social entrepreneurs. She has a particular interest in India. She is the founder of Serendipity PR, in London, UK, where she works with high-profile brands and organizations in the public, non-profit, and corporate sectors, winning awards for her work from the communications industry. She has been appointed to the Women In Enterprise Taskforce and was until recently chairman of London's leading conscious well-being organisation, Alternatives, which hosts leading speakers such as Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch and many other well-known names. She describes herself as a Spiritual Entrepreneur, Conscious Explorer; enjoying helping others, paying it forward and being a mum.