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Participation in solar projects will lead to women empowerment

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Kolkata: If women in Indian villages start participating in solar electricity projects, planning and implementing maintenance they can challenge patriarchy and gender roles discrimination.

Karina Standal and Tanja Winther from the Centre of Development and Environment, University of Oslo, examined in a recent study how the introduction of electricity in new contexts (solar power) affected gender relations in rural communities in Uttar Pradesh in India and in Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

“In terms of empowerment, the women feel that access to solar electricity gave them an easier everyday life and sense of accomplishments in pursuing their roles as mothers and wives/daughters-in-law and the like. This is, of course, very important in raising their life quality,” Standal said in an email interaction from Norway.

Centred on community solar power plants (micro-grids) for generating livelihoods or household electricity in two UP villages and four in Bamiyan, the research revealed contrasting features in terms of inclusion of women in such projects and their ability to counter patriarchy.

The study was published in the Forum For Development Studies on January 20.

Standal elaborated that the Indian project provided women several benefits but did not elevate them to a position where they could actively challenge discriminatory gender relations. In the Afghan case female role-models trained and working as “solar engineers” meant that communities experienced the benefits of women working and receiving the education.

“The Indian case in mention did not have this element in the implementation. Rather, it saw it only useful to train men as ‘village operators’ with responsibilities for the solar equipment. In that sense, this project reinforces patriarchal structures that work to limit women’s role outside their home,” observed Standal.

What emerged was “when projects are carried out without women’s true and equal participation, as in the Indian case, there is lost potential in a more long-term empowerment to challenge discriminating gender roles”.

Standal said the Indian project did attempt at some female representation in Village Energy Committees that are responsible for the solar systems in their village and for the monthly payments from the villagers for the consumption, salary of the village operator, maintaining bank accounts, holding meetings and the like.

“However, the women did not participate in the Village Energy Committees, as they were not allowed to speak freely due to cultural restrictions on women,” Standal said, adding that this scenario “cannot be generalized to Indian villages implementing solar electricity in general”.

But the fact remains, both internationally and in the Indian context, that the issues and opportunities of gender equality and energy development have not been receiving enough attention, stressed Standal.

“Women (in the case studies) are only seen as important end-users and benefits are provided for them to have a better life within the existing patriarchal system,” said Standal laying strong emphasis on ensuring that “women are granted equal access to participation in such projects”.

“Participation (should be) at all levels and not reduced to certain areas to make the most of these energy projects.”

Standal said the Indian project was initiated by a private Norwegian company and executed as a public-private partnership between the company, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation).

“The Afghan case was initiated by the NGO Norwegian Church Aid in support with the Indian Barefoot College. Their model of training women as Barefoot Solar Engineers is very interesting and I think has had several added values to the project in terms of impact on gender relations and more opportunities for women,” concluded the researcher.

Adding from her own experience in the field, Indian environmental economist Joyashree Roy of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, concurred.

“True inclusion of a stakeholder (women) from very beginning helps in getting them to change maker,” Roy said.(IANS)

NewsGram View-Indian women need empowerment and this should be achieved through any means. If this participation helps then the women should be encouraged to take part in such projects.

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Skincare Routine for Different Phases of Menstrual Cycle

Alter your skincare regime to follow your menstrual cycle

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Menstrual cycle
There are a whole host of reasons why we suddenly breakout, but the main culprit is hormonal changes, especially throughout a woman's menstrual cycle. Pixabay

Within a 28-day cycle our complexion can change drastically; from crystal clear one minute, to pimples the next, super dry and flaky to oily and unpleasantly shiny. Whether you are a pimple popper or a diligent skincare devotee, we just cant win against the spots and zits that Aunt Flo brings in.

There are a whole host of reasons why we suddenly breakout, but the main culprit is hormonal changes, especially throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, say experts.

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To understand the cause and amp up your arsenal to fight the zits, here are the stages of a menstrual cycle and changes our body goes through:

Stage 1: The Menstrual Phase (Day 1 to 5)

Menstrual cycle
You need to take special care of your skin during the first phase of your menstrual cycle. Pixabay

The first phase starts with day one of your period, and it tends to be the peak time of the month when we are most vulnerable to breakouts. During this time, our bodies start to produce excess oestrogen, which triggers the production of oil and sebum, and causes skin the main aggregators to spots. Try to battle the sluggishness of the body that accompanies during such time and take care of skin by gently exfoliating and cleansing the face, especially the T-zone, which is often the main problem area as it is the most oily, as well as our chin, and around the nose too.

Stage 2: The Follicular Phase (Day 5 to 15)

The midpoint in a woman’s cycle is when we notice our skin has become dry and flaky, in comparison to the week before, which left us feeling like a grease ball, all because our oestrogen levels have dropped.

During these 10 days our skin, and body, is crying out for some extra TLC. Say yes to hydration for repairing the skin’s barrier after a week of going through the volatility of hormones in the first phase.

Hydrating masks, deeply nourishing moisturisers, vitamin sprays, and simply drinking all the H20 will work wonders on the skin and help to achieve the desired glow.

Menstrual cycle
The last stage of your menstrual cycle gives you a glowing skin. Pixabay

Stage 3: Luteal Phase (Day 15 to 28)

In the last leg of your cycle, and the prime time to show off your radiant skin in all the selfies your camera roll can handle.

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During these two-weeks ahead of your next period your blood circulation will increase, thanks to oestrogen, which instantly leaves us looking fresh faced with a bit more colour in our cheeks. Although oestrogen will start to rise again it is not to the point where our face becomes too oily.

Also Read- Dont Buy Your Wine Without Tasting it

Our skin in this fortnight will easily absorb ingredients, which is why we still need to be mindful of what we put on our skin, and in our bodies too.

So, while you are tailoring your beauty routine, be a 10-step Korean-inspired regime or a simple CTM, try making changes keeping in mind the monthly cycle to retain the glow throughout the year. (IANS)