“Unveiling the Unseen: Championing Mental Health Rights for Women Workers”

Introduction: Women workers are one group that frequently remains unacknowledged in a society when mental health is receiving more attention. Everybody has a right to bask in the radiance of mental health, regardless of gender, region, or occupation. The story of women workers’ mental health, particularly that of those employed in the unorganized sector, is, nevertheless, one that goes mostly unwritten and unheard. In this compelling blog, we’re about to go out on a quest to unearth this obscure story, highlighting the significance of mental health as a fundamental human right.

Hidden Struggles, Invisible Battles: Some threads and labor are forgotten in the vast fabric that is our society. For instance, doing the dishes is a labor of love and devotion that goes unnoticed. Like domestic workers, women who labor in the informal economy face a world where legal protections are few, verbal and physical abuse is pervasive, and working conditions frequently resemble a rough sea. Along with the weight of their employment, they also bear the stigma that society places on them, which slowly erodes their mental health.

Our exploration doesn’t conclude here; Nepal, a nation where over 70% of the labor force participates in informal economic activities. Within this context, a staggering 90.5% of female workers navigate the challenges of informal employment. Among them, roughly 200,000 domestic workers toil in obscurity, lacking the protection of legal acknowledgment. Yet, this plight extends beyond national boundaries, as numerous Nepali migrant domestic workers labor in foreign countries.

Breaking the Chains of Stigma: Stigma, that invisible chain, keeps people from expressing their opinions, speaking up, getting the care they need, and reintegrating into their communities. It is a weapon that has the potential to violate numerous human rights in various ways. In nations where patriarchal traditions are deeply ingrained, where women face shame and discrimination based on their occupations, including domestic duties, this struggle becomes more intense.

But there is some hope despite these difficulties. Work that is decently paid contributes to one’s livelihood, self-assurance, sense of purpose, and sense of community. It creates the environment for disciplined routines and wholesome interactions. Sadly, many workers in the informal sector—who frequently aren’t even acknowledged as workers—find themselves shut out of this well-balanced ensemble. Their mental health is negatively impacted by the unsafe working conditions, long hours, lack of access to social and financial protections, and discrimination they experience.

Eradicating Inequality: Inequality isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a storm that can shatter the foundations of mental health. Gender-based wage disparities, unequal opportunities, and disrespect at work intensify the storms of stress and amplify the chorus of pre-existing mental health conditions. Discrimination based on sex, gender identity, or other social characteristics further fuels the tempest.

It’s time to take action—enough is enough. Female workers cannot continue to endure silent agony. Mental health is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. It’s time for all parties involved to come together, listen, acknowledge, and assist the mental health of women who work in the unorganized sector.

World Mental Health Day 2023: Tarangini Foundation has taken up the mantle. On World Mental Health Day 2023, we’re raising the curtain to create awareness and rally support for the challenges faced by female workers in the informal sector. Together, by recognizing that mental health is indeed universal health, we can compose a more inclusive and equitable society—a society where every color in the mental health shines brightly.

Conclusion: The stories of women workers, often shrouded in silence, must be unveiled and heard. It’s time we acknowledge that mental health isn’t a luxury; it’s a fundamental human right, universal and unassailable. By addressing the unique challenges faced by women workers and collectively dismantling the walls of discrimination and stigma, we can paint a world where mental health truly matters for all.

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