Despite the progress achieved in various facets of life, the problems of women have changed only in appearance but, in reality, continue to remain as before, said writer Vinaya Vakkunda.

Participating in a discussion on women’s problems at the two-day literary meet, Jana Nudi, that began on Saturday here, she said women are still considered as a commodity and girls of a community in places like Alnavar near Dharwad constantly lived in fear of being sold.

Narrating her experience in Gujarat, she said women from the middle class nurtured “false sense of safety” behind rituals. Middle-class was the most difficult to change, she said adding this was a big challenge one faced.

Social worker Gulabi Bilimale criticised the women’s forums, particularly the writers association, which had failed to respond to grave issues such as the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl near Dharmasthala last year.

Writer Jyothi Chelyaru highlighted how her family had to be displaced for the sake of developmental projects twice and how her mother had attempted to preserve articles related to farming until recently. She regretted that the system or people could hardly understand that her emotional attachments to land and that could hardly be compensated.

Poet Anasuya Kamble said activists should look at scientific answers to traditional concepts. Writer D. Saraswathi highlighted how women pourakarmikas and anganwadi workers were denied minimum wages. Meenakshi Kale of All Karnataka Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane said trade unions had pushed women to the sidelines.

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