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Kerala women break another glass ceiling,  lead digging of wells in village

Representational image. Women in Kerala have been engaged in digging well that was once considered a male bastion (Pic. Courtesy wikimedia commons)

While women breaking glass ceiling by becoming astronauts or pilots or driving locomotives, buses and auto rickshaws makes the headlines, there are many activities at the grassroot level done by them that are not noticed. One such is digging of wells that was once considered a male bastion and in Kerala’s Vallapuzha village in Palakkad district they have dug 35 wells in three years.

With drinking water becoming short especially during summers, digging of wells has become inevitable and now women have become adept in it, and are doing this work under MGNREGA. In Palakkad district itself, women workers have dug 1,578 wells in the last two financial years.

Talking about it to the media, N.K. Abdul Latheef, the President of Vallapuzha GP said that with drinking water shortage looming large, they plan to dig 75 wells in 2023-24. Of this 35 have been already completed in the last three months.

Way back in 2017 in Palakkad’s Pookkottukavu village, women dug 190 new wells in six months. As per K. Jayadevan, who was earlier the president of the GP, theirs was the first local body in Kerala to take up digging of wells on a massive scale to combat drought.

He added that in the beginning there was apprehension and reluctance on the part of the women and others but gradually they got over it and in due course the number of women in this work swelled to 300.

With several parts of Kerala reporting water scarcity there is a rush to dig wells and more women are getting involved in this activity.