Women

Breaking the glass ceiling with a carpentry unit in style

Breaking the glass ceiling with a carpentry unit in style

Published:09 March 2019

Kolkata | After taking up the job of a carpenter in a Kerala town, Omana Soman now earns Rs 800-1,000 a day and wishes more women followed in her footsteps.

It would be difficult to tell the 50-year-old Soman about male and female domains, as she doesn't believe there exist any in a profession.

She has a simple logic - carpentry is economically more rewarding than stitching and embroidery.

A housewife, a mother and a daughter-in-law, she drives to her carpentry unit in a two-wheeler every day and keeps herself updated about the family members during work breaks on mobile phone.

"I don't face any problem, if you have the will power, you can. And this job has helped me run the family in a better way. I am earning Rs 800-1000 a day now," she told PTI on Friday during a visit to the city on the occasion of International Women's Day.

Soman is part of a 750-strong women carpenter brigade.

She was trained and employed by an NGO - Archana Womens Centre - in the southern state, breaking the stereotypes of "female only" and "male only" professions.

She was the only representative of the 750 women to be felicitated in the city. Members of the audience, including young girls, were keen on taking selfies with her that left Soman a tad embarrassed. She is not used to see such adulation.

Steered by ThresiammaMathew Pazhukkunnel as director, Archana Women's Centre has trained and employed over 5,000 women masons and 750 women carpenters besides a few plumbers, electricians, ferro-cement technologists and bamboo technologists - all women.

Thresiamma Mathew Pazhukkunnel, who hails from Kottayam district of Kerala, said "I had seen the wage disparities, the discrimination, the harassment, the social taboos which were faced by the women workers and sought to change their status by providing skill training to women.

"Carpentry is one of the vocations chosen by women for skill training and it has turned out to be a hugely successful profession," Thresiamma, who had been invited to the United Nations to share her experiences on the economic empowerment of women once, said.


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