PART - III
By Dr PJ Sudhakar
tiol Mission for Empowerment of Women: Government of India launched the tiol Mission for empowerment of women (NMEW) on Intertiol Women’s Day in 2010 with the aim to strengthen overall processes that promote all-round development of women. It has the mandate to strengthen the inter-sector convergence; facilitate the process of coorditing all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments. The Mission aims to provide a single window service for all programmes run by the Government for Women under aegis of various Central Ministries. The Mission has been med Mission Poor Shakti, implying a vision for holistic empowerment of women. The Mission focussed on access to health, drinking water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for women, coverage of all girls especially those belonging to vulnerable groups in schools from primary to class 12th, higher and Professiol education for girls, Skill development, Micro credit, vocatiol training, Entrepreneurship, Self-Help Groups development , Gender sensitization and dissemition of information and taking steps to prevent crimes against women and a safe environment for women.
tiol Commission for Women: The tiol Commission for Women was set up as statutory body in January 1992 under the tiol Commission for Women Act, 1990 to review the Constitutiol and Legal safeguards for women ; recommend remedial legislative measures ; facilitate redressal of grievances and to advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women. The Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment. It organises consultations, constituted expert committees on economic empowerment of women, conducts workshops and semirs for gender awareness and took up publicity campaign against female foeticide, violence against women, in order to generate awareness in the society against these social evils and human rights of women.
Women constitute almost half of the population of the world. Education for women is the best way to improve the health, nutrition and economic status of a household that constitute a micro unit of a tion economy. The lack of woman education can be an impediment to the country’s economic development. In India, women achieve far less education that of men. As per the Census report 2001, the literacy rate of women is 54.16 per cent and that of men is 65.38 per cent. There has been a sincere effort to improve the education attainment of women by both government and voluntary organizations. The changes in the policies and infrastructural supports on primary, secondary and higher education reflect the initiatives of the Government of India towards women education. The divergences in the literacy rates between sexes indicate the difference in the growth rate of literacy levels between males and females over a period of time. Another area of concern is to reduce the gap between the rural and urban female literacy. Though there has been a steady upward trend in both the rural and urban female literacy rates, it is observed that the rural female literacy is increasing much faster than that of urban.
In economics we often talk of discrimition which means denial of equality and human rights to women and the freedom to make decisions which affects their lives and results in widening disparities in the human capabilities and functionings associated between man and woman. The add gender discrimition severely limit expansion and utilization of human capabilities in women and it has critical implications for economic growth. It is assumed that the status of women and discrimition against them are inversely related and therefore measuring women’s status is equivalent to measuring gender discrimition. This issue, though, is receiving increasing academic and policy attention in the recent years, there is still a dearth of research in this area, particularly quantitative and empirical research. Until recently, it was assumed that development was gender-neutral – that both men and women could benefit equally from development, and that the benefits of developmental interventions spread evenly across society. The historical legacy of gender inequality existed in all societies across the world implies that there is no “level playing field”. Gender inequalities can also have instrumental impacts through creating constraints in the achievement of a number of development goals. For example, studies have shown that gender inequality in education and access to resources may hamper the process of reduction of child mortality and lowering of fertility, which in turn impacts the expansion of education for the next generation. Gender inequality also has a negative impact on economic growth. There is now overwhelming evidence that countries that adopt specific measures to protect women’s rights and increase their access to resources and schooling have less corruption and achieve faster economic growth than countries that do not.
There is a need for political empowerment of women Globally, women hold slightly less than 20 per cent of seats in Parliament. In Asia-Pacific region, just over 18 per cent of all members of tiol Parliaments are women. India is far below these countries with 11 per cent women in the Lok Sabha. With 60 women members of Parliament out of 545 (11 per cent), tiolly, India’s Lower House ranks only 105th worldwide in this context. With 37 per cent of members at rural and district bodies, India has achieved a better gender balance at sub-tiol level. Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat (Article 243 D(3)), Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4)), Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipality to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality (Article 243 T (3)) Reservation of offices of Chairpersons in Municipalities for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the legislature of a State may by law provide (Article 243 T (4)). The 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments provided reservations for women. The Bill for providing 33 percent reservation for women in legislatures is not yet ected.
MAG Study (1994) revealed that there are now more women in the media workforce than they were twenty years ago. The decision making in these organizations remain overwhelmingly the domain of man. Senior decision makers with a gender sensitive perspective can use their persuasive power to empower others and change the image and status of women in print and electronic media organizations. As far as print media is concerned, late seventies and eighties in India witnessed the emergence of lot of women jourlists. The choice of many educated women to take to this profession which was till recently considered a bastion of men is a sign of women of India joining the main stream decision making process in an important way. The last twenty years of print media is a story of women's participation in an area that focuses on the tiol agenda of great public interest. Communication researchers should take up studies on women's employment in various mass media. This may provide guidelines for bringing gender equality in the employment in mass media. It is true that women are lagging behind men in the media work force. At the same time, it is also a fact that there has been progress in this regard. There is more number of women employed now in media organizations and Government media of radio and Doordarshan in senior positions. Once they acquire positions of power in the media workforce, the task of improving women's images in media will become easier. There is a need for projecting the positive image of women in film media.
Government of India instituted five tiol awards which are to be called 'Stree Shakti Puraskar for recognition of achievements of individual women in the field of social development. These awards will be in the me of the eminent women persolities in the Indian history, who are famous for their persol courage and integrity like Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, Kanngi, Mata Jijabai, Rani Gaidenlou Zeliang and Rani Lakshmi Bai. The award will carry a cash prize of Rupees one lakh and a citation. These awards will be given to women who have triumphed over difficult circumstances and have fought for and established the rights of women in various fields. Also, women achievers who have worked in the areas of education, health, agriculture and rural industry, protection of forests and environment and those who have created awareness and consciousness on women's issues through arts and media would be recognized and awarded by the Government. (PIB) (Concluded)