Manipuri women carpenters prove their mettle

Imphal (Manipur) [India], Jan 30 (ANI): Women in Kairembikhok village in Thoubal district of Manipur are breaking all stereotypes by getting into the carpentry profession.

The carpentry has always been a male-dominated industry but in this village, women are into this profession making this tough job as smooth as household chores.

The furniture unit run by carpenter -- Kangjam Inaobi -- has employed women.

"Ever since I started this furniture business, I have noticed there are many unemployed women in our village. And most of them did not have any other source of income to support their family and many could not meet their daily expenses. So, I hired them to join here in my carpentry business," Kangjam Inaobi, owner of the furniture unit, said.

Interestingly, in Kairembikhok village, most of the people are engaged in carpentry work. These women carpenters have joined the unit along with their male family members and are equally contributing to the family and at times do better than their male counterparts when it comes to elegance and finishing the products.

The working hour varies from 7 am to 10 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm. Most of them work 4-5 hours a day. After giving a final touch, these finished products are sold in the market with an amount ranging from Rs 18,000 to Rs 85,000.

Ibemcha, a woman carpenter, said: "We get paid Rs 200-Rs 600 in a day. As a woman, we should also help men. Man alone cannot support and raise a family. As looking after our family is equally important, we just cannot rely on a man. So, that is the reason we are here as a carpenter."

While some of them have just started learning the skill of carpentry, some help in decorating the furniture items. Each worker here is earning at least Rs 200 per day, according to their skills and working hours.

Every woman in this village gets an opportunity. Indu, another woman carpenter, said: "Many women in the region do not get an opportunity to work but here in our village, we are getting this good opportunity. No women are sitting free and all women are given something to do through this unit."

Kangjam says that these women carpenters are happy working here.

"When harvesting, paddy work or gardening work is not there, women become jobless. But here in our line of work, we have carpentry jobs to be done throughout the year. So here, they feel very happy as it helps them cover their daily needs."

The women in this village may not have completed their education but they are getting skilled in carving work and sustain their lives with dignity. (ANI)