(GIST OF YOJANA) Women empowerment recent reforms
Women empowerment recent reforms
- The National Commission for Women has been working to change the narrative of gender inequality at every level and foster a culture where everyone has an equal, free, and fair opportunity to engage in social, political, and economic activities without prejudice. This is in consonance with the Government of India's vision and policy.
- The Commission endeavours to convert all de jure rights, commitments, guarantees, and safeguards available under the Indian Constitution for women into de facto ones.
- Ensuring equality of gender remains a pressing issue worldwide, with women experiencing various forms of violence, discrimination, and limited access to opportunities. The statistics provided highlight the urgent need for social reforms to empower women and achieve gender equality.
- Governments and societies have put in a lot of effort to combat domestic violence through comprehensive legal frameworks, increased awareness campaigns, and support services for survivors. Initiatives such as helplines and safehouses can provide crucial support to victims and help break the cycle of violence.
Ending Child Marriage
- The persistence of child marriage robs girls of their childhood, education, and future prospects. Efforts should focus on implementing and enforcing laws that set the minimum age for marriage, promoting girls' education, and raising awareness about the harmful consequences of early marriage.
- Community engagement, targeted interventions, and economic empowerment programmes can empower girls and their families to make informed choices and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
- Despite progress, women's representation in political institutions remains low.
- Governments have adopted affirmative action policies, such as quotas, to increase women's participation in decision-making processes, encouraging political parties to nominate more women candidates, providing leadership training, and addressing systemic barriers are essential steps towards achieving equal representation in Parliament and local governments.
- Economic Empowerment Addressing the gender gap in employment and promoting women's economic empowerment is vital. Governments and businesses should promote equal pay for equal work, establish maternity leave and childcare policies, and provide access to finance and entrepreneurship training for women. Encouraging women's participation in traditionally male-dominated sectors and dismantling barriers to career advancement will contribute to greater gender equality in the workforce.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
- Ensuring access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services is crucial for women's autonomy and well-being, Governments should prioritise comprehensive sex education, family planning services, and safe abortion services where legal.
- Additionally, investments in healthcare infrastructure and addressing stigmas surrounding reproductive health will reduce unintended pregnancies and empower women to make informed choices about their bodies and futures.
- Protecting women's rights to land ownership is fundamental to their economic empowerment and overall well-being. Governments should enact and enforce legislation that ensures equal access to land, property rights, and inheritance laws.
- Strengthening land tenure systems, providing legal assistance, and promoting women's land ownership awareness campaigns are essential for gender equality and poverty reduction.
- To advance gender equality, countries should establish comprehensive systems to track public allocations for gender equality initiatives.
- Governments must allocate sufficient resources to address the specific needs and challenges faced by women and monitor the effectiveness of these investments. Transparent and accountable systems will ensure progress towards gender equality goals.
1. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao: Launched in 2015, this initiative aims to address the declining child sex ratio and promote the education and welfare of girls.
2. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): Introduced in 2017, this maternity benefit scheme provides financial assistance to pregnant and lactating women for improved health and nutrition during pregnancy and childbirth.
3. Mahila e-Haat: This online platform was launched in 2016 to facilitate women entrepreneurs and artisans in showcasing and selling their products. It provides a digital marketplace for women to reach a wider customer base and promote their businesses.
4. Ujjwaia Yojana: Launched in 2016, this scheme provides free LPG connections to women from below-poverty-line households, It aims to improve their health, reduce indoor air pollution, and empower them by enabling clean cooking fuel access.
5. Stand Up India: Introduced in 2016, this scheme encourages entrepreneurship among women and Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe individuals. It offers bank loans between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore to set up greenfield enterprises, promoting women's economic empowerment and self-employment opportunities.
6. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): While not exclusively for women, this skill development scheme, introduced in 2015, aims to provide industry-relevant training to enhance employability, It has benefited many women by offering skill development courses in various sectors.
These are just a few examples of government schemes implemented in the last decade to promote women's empowerment,, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and skill development. There are several other schemes at the central and state levels that focus on women's welfare, education, and financial inclusion.
1. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Nirbhaya Act): This amendment was passed in 2013, making significant changes to laws concerning sexual offences. The Government established the Nirbhaya Fund to support initiatives addressing women's safety and empowerment The fund has been utilised to set up one-stop centres, women's helplines, and improve infrastructure for women's safety.
2. Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017: This amendment was enacted in 2017, extending the maternity leave period for women working in the organised sector in India from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. This reform recognises the importance of providing adequate time for maternal health and bonding with the child.
3. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019: This amendment was passed in 2019, strengthening the protection of children from sexual offenses.
4. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, although not specific to women as a whole, was also an important amendment passed within the last 10 years to provide legal protection to Muslim women against instant triple talaq (divorce). It criminalized the practice of instant triple talaq (divorce) among Muslim men in India. This reform aimed to protect the rights of Muslim women and ensure gender equality within personal laws.
5. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013: This Act mandates the establishment of internal committees in workplaces to address complaints of sexual harassment and ensure a safe working environment for women.
These reforms have played a crucial role in advancing women's rights and empowerment in India, fostering gender equality, and challenging systemic inequalities. However, it is important to continue working towards creating a society that fully upholds and respects women's rights in all aspects of life.