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Updated: January 31, 2013 15:21 IST

Street food as a tool of women’s empowerment

Sreedhar Nemmani
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In our society, cooking has been the traditional forte of women and this can be used to as a tool for their economic upliftment, V. Usha Rani, Director of Sannihita, Center for Women, Girl and Children Society says.

If street food vending is legalised and brought into mainstream, this sector can be a source of sustenance for socially backward women, she observes.

To create this awareness, both among officials and women street food vendors, Sannihita, in collaboration with Sustainable Hyderabad Project (SHP), has come up with a new initiative – Jeevanpath.

“Street food vending can be used to create livelihood security for marginalised women in the city. But to achieve this there has to be better policy initiatives,” Ms. Rani says.

Though men stand at street food outlets, women play a major role in processing raw materials and preparing basic ingredients, if this role is formally accepted and encouraged, their potentiality can be fully tapped, Ms. Rani observes.

To achieve this goal there is a need to provide legal recognition to street food vending and to bring it under the fold of Self-Help Groups (SHGs), she explains. By legalising the profession the day-to-day threat that these vendors face from enforcement authorities can be tackled and along with it they can also apply for financial support, she points out.

Officials should also provide designated places for these vendors to operate along with providing facilities like proper storage facilities, she maintains.

“Unlike formal hotel and restaurant businesses, street food vending needs very less investment but has a huge potential,” she says. There are a total of 1.5 lakh street vendors in the State and by rejuvenating this sector, one can bring about a cascading effect in the lives of these many families, she adds.

To highlight these aspects, Sannihita and SHP organised a two-day seminar in first week of January in which women street food vendors from across the State participated.

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