Women Empowerment

Topics: Gender, Poverty, Feminism Pages: 41 (12448 words) Published: February 21, 2009
(2001) | |
|Introduction | |The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental | |Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to | |women, but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women. | |Within the framework of a democratic polity, our laws, development policies, Plans and programmes have| |aimed at women’s advancement in different spheres. From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards has| |been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues from welfare to development. In recent years, | |the empowerment of women has been recognized as the central issue in determining the status of women. | |The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights | |and legal entitlements of women. The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have| |provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, | |laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels. | |1.3 India has also ratified various international conventions and human rights instruments committing | |to secure equal rights of women. Key among them is the ratification of the Convention on Elimination | |of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993. | |1.4 The Mexico Plan of Action (1975), the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies (1985), the Beijing | |Declaration as well as the Platform for Action (1995) and the Outcome Document adopted by the UNGA | |Session on Gender Equality and Development & Peace for the 21st century, titled "Further actions and | |initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action" have been unreservedly | |endorsed by India for appropriate follow up. | |1.5 The Policy also takes note of the commitments of the Ninth Five Year Plan and the other Sectoral | |Policies relating to empowerment of Women. | |1.6 The women’s movement and a wide-spread network of non-Government Organisations which have strong | |grass-roots presence and deep insight into women’s concerns have contributed in inspiring initiatives | |for the empowerment of women. | |1.7 However, there still exists a wide gap between the goals enunciated in the Constitution, | |legislation, policies, plans, programmes, and related mechanisms on the one hand and the situational | |reality of the status of women in India, on the other. This has been analyzed extensively in the | |Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India, "Towards Equality", 1974 and highlighted in | |the National Perspective Plan for Women, 1988-2000, the Shramshakti Report, 1988 and the Platform for | |Action, Five Years After- An assessment" | |1.8 Gender disparity manifests itself in various forms, the most obvious being the trend of | |continuously declining female ratio in the population in the last few decades. Social stereotyping and| |violence at the domestic and societal levels are some of the other manifestations. Discrimination | |against girl children, adolescent girls and women persists in parts of the country. | |1.9 The underlying causes of gender inequality are related to social and economic structure, which is | |based on informal and formal norms, and practices. | |1.10 Consequently, the access of women particularly...
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