a serial write up continued from March 17.....
Goal and Objectives
1.11 The goal of this Policy is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women. The Policy will be widely disseminated so as to encourage active participation of all stakeholders for achieving its goals. Specifically, the objectives of this Policy include
(i) Creating an environment through positive economic and social policies for full development of women to enable them to realize their full potential
(ii) The de-jure and de-facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women on equal basis with men in all spheres – political, economic, social, cultural and civil
(iii) Equal access to participation and decision making of women in social, political and economic life of the nation
(iv) Equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc.
(v) Strengthening legal systems aimed at elimination of all forms of discrimination against women
(vi) Changing societal attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of both men and women.
(vii) Mainstreaming a gender perspective in the development process.
(viii) Elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child; and
(ix) Building and strengthening partnerships with civil society, particularly women’s organizations.
Judicial Legal Systems
Legal-judicial system will be made more responsive and gender sensitive to women’s needs, especially in cases of domestic violence and personal assault. New laws will be enacted and existing laws reviewed to ensure that justice is quick and the punishment meted out to the culprits is commensurate with the severity of the offence.
2.2 At the initiative of and with the full participation of all stakeholders including community and religious leaders, the Policy would aim to encourage changes in personal laws such as those related to marriage, divorce, maintenance and guardianship so as to eliminate discrimination against women.
2.3 The evolution of property rights in a patriarchal system has contributed to the subordinate status of women. The Policy would aim to encourage changes in laws relating to ownership of property and inheritance by evolving consensus in order to make them gender just.
3.1 Women’s equality in power sharing and active participation in decision making, including decision making in political process at all levels will be ensured for the achievement of the goals of empowerment. All measures will be taken to guarantee women equal access to and full participation in decision making bodies at every level, including the legislative, executive, judicial, corporate, statutory bodies, as also the advisory Commissions, Committees, Boards, Trusts etc. Affirmative action such as reservations/quotas, including in higher legislative bodies, will be considered whenever necessary on a time bound basis. Women–friendly personnel policies will also be drawn up to encourage women to participate effectively in the developmental process.
Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in the Development Process
4.1 Policies, programmes and systems will be established to ensure mainstreaming of women’s perspectives in all developmental processes, as catalysts, participants and recipients.Wherever there are gaps in policies and programmes, women specific interventions would be undertaken to bridge these. Coordinating and monitoring mechanisms will also be devised to assess from time to time the progress of such mainstreaming mechanisms. Women’s issues and concerns as a result will specially be addressed and reflected in all concerned laws, sectoral policies, plans and programmes of action.
Economic Empowerment of women
5.1 Since women comprise the majority of the population below the poverty line and are very often in situations of extreme poverty, given the harsh realities of intra-household and social discrimination, macro economic policies and poverty eradication programmes will specifically address the needs and problems of such women. There will be improved implementation of programmes which are already women oriented with special targets for women. Steps will be taken for mobilization of poor women and convergence of services, by offering them a range of economic and social options, along with necessary support measures to enhance their capabilities
5.2 In order to enhance women’s access to credit for consumption and production, the establishment of new, and strengthening of existing micro-credit mechanisms and micro-finance institution will be undertaken so that the outreach of credit is enhanced. Other supportive measures would be taken to ensure adequate flow of credit through extant financial institutions and banks, so that all women below poverty line have easy access to credit.
Women and Economy
5.3 Women’s perspectives will be included in designing and implementing macro-economic and social policies by institutionalizing their participation in such processes. Their contribution to socio-economic development as producers and workers will be recognized in the formal and informal sectors (including home based workers) and appropriate policies relating to employment and to her working conditions will be drawn up. Such measures could include:
Reinterpretation and redefinition of conventional concepts of work wherever necessary e.g. in the Census records, to reflect women’s contribution as producers and workers.
Preparation of satellite and national accounts.
Development of appropriate methodologies for undertaking (i) and (ii) above.
Photos:Cortesy BBC News
to be continued............