Together We Can Do IT!
The December 16, 2012, Nirbhaya gang-rape incident in Delhi is still fresh in our memories. What it triggered off was the outpour of men and women (young and old) on the streets to draw attention of the law enforcing agencies and the government machinery that such incidents will not be tolerated and rapists be accorded death penalty due to the gravity of the crime. Accordingly revision in the anti-rape bill is in the offing, with stricter punishment for the rapists, including capital punishment. This means when we are together, we can achieve greater things, including respect and empowerment of women. Had it been only women groups protesting on the streets after Nirbhaya rape incident, the impact would not have been so profound. Since the whole society, including men protested for strict action against rapists, the latter were nabbed in no time, and now there is recommendation for fast-track court for speedy justice for Nirbhaya.
Empowering women is very important for the societal development and hence is regarded as key to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. As is rightly said, an empowered woman contributes to the productivity of her whole family, both economic and social. Research has shown that gender inequality in the sectors of reproductive health, women empowerment and labour market participation, impairs a country’s development as also its human development. The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Report for the year 2013 informs “gender inequality is especially tragic not only because it excludes women from basic social opportunities, but also because it gravely imperils the life prospects of future generations.” Since India ranks 132 out of 187 countries on the gender inequality index, as per UNDP Human Development Report, 2013, it is especially important for the country to empower its women. India ranks low because of the skewed sex ratio it has, 940 females per every 1000 males, as...
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