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UP Govt Places Pink Booths To Reduce Gender-Gap In Covid Vaccination. So It Was Because The Booths Weren’t Pink Enough?

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Do you remember how they’d always show in Tom & Jerry that a piece of cheese would be kept in a rat trap and it would just entice the rodent to walk right into it? Apparently, if you have to draw women to something, you just have to paint it pink. Maybe that’s why several morning after pills come in pink. Maybe if we just make all the text books pink, there will be a significant rise in girl child education because that is why girls are not going to school. Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government announced they’d launch ‘pink booths’ to encourage women to get vaccinated against Covid-19. These booths will be operational across the 75 districts of the state.

After a review meeting headed by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the government have been asked to put at least two pink booths in these centers – one for women in the age group of 18-44 and one for those above 45 years of age.

 

I really appreciate that the Uttar Pradesh government is actually taking interest in getting the women vaccinated. They are setting these booths up in district women hospitals and joint hospitals and if required, the order will extend to tehsils as well.

While there is a significant gender gap in Covid vaccination coverage in India, it is the rural and small towns that exhibit a wider divide. Due to poor digital literacy, decision making capabilities and a strongly embedded patriarchal ecosystem, women are being left out in vaccination drives. In fact, there has been several myths around vaccination affecting menstruation and fertility, further deterring women from getting vaccinated.

ALSO READ: India Skills Report 2021 Shows Women Are More Employable Than Men. Finally, The Gender Gap In Employment Is Improving!

Special booths may make several women feel more comfortable, being in an all-women’s space as they wait hours to get vaccinated. However, the gender gap can be addressed at the root level by encouraging female health care providers in these rural areas to break myths and incentivize women to take the jab. I am sorry but painting the booth pink doesn’t seem like even remotely enough. It is not like women in these societies are sitting around thinking, ‘Oh, well, the booths aren’t shiny enough for me to get vaccinated.’ Maybe focus more on door-to-door enrollment of women, so they don’t have to be dependent of the men of the house – including those who are abusive.

And if pink means so much to them, can we hand out a pink slip to gender stereotypes and superficial solutions?

ALSO READ: From Loans To Sex Workers To Providing Sanitary Napkins, The NHRC Has Issued An Advisory On How To Protect Women’s Rights During The Pandemic

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