Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on 17 May 2016 unveiled 2016 Draft National Policy for Women for comments and consultation.
It will replace National Policy for Empowerment of Women, 2001. It will also guide Government action on Women’s issues over the next 15-20 years.
The drafted policy shifts the focus from entitlements to rights and from empowerment to creating an enabling environment.
The Salient features of the policy are as follows:
• It seeks to create a society in which women attain their full potential and participate as equal partners in all spheres of life.
• It also emphasises the role of an effective framework to enable the process of developing policies, programmes and practices which will ensure equal rights and opportunities for women.
• It seeks to create conducive socio-cultural, economic and political environment to enable women enjoy de jure and de facto fundamental rights and realize their full potential.
• It describes emerging issues such as making cyber space safe place for women, redistribution of gender roles, for reducing unpaid care work, review of personal and customary laws in accordance with the Constitutional provisions and many more.
• It wants to review of criminalization of marital rape within the framework women’s human rights etc. relevant in the developmental paradigms.
• Health including food security and nutrition: Focus on recognizing women’s reproductive rights, shift of family planning focus also to males, expansion of health insurance schemes and addressing the intergenerational cycle of under-nutrition.
• Education: Improve access to pre-primary education, enrolment and retention of adolescent girls, and address disparities with regard to ICTs.
• Economy: Raising visibility, engendering macro-economic policies, generate gender-disaggregated land ownership database, skill development and equal employment opportunities with appropriate benefits related to maternity and child care services.
• Governance and Decision Making: Increasing women’s participation in the political arena, administration, civil services and corporate boardrooms.
• Violence Against Women: Address all forms of violence against women through a life cycle approach, Improve Child Sex Ratio (CSR), and prevention of trafficking at source, transit and destination areas for effective monitoring of the networks.
• Enabling Environment: Gender perspective in housing and infrastructure, gender parity in the mass media & sports, and support services for all women especially the vulnerable, marginalized, migrant and single women.
• Environment and Climate Change: Addressing gender concerns during distress migration and displacement in times of natural calamities due to climate change and environmental degradation. Promotion of environmental friendly, renewable, non–conventional energy, green energy sources for women in rural households.
• Enabling safety and security of women: With initiatives such as One Stop Centres, Women Helpline, Mahila Police Volunteers, Reservation of women in police force, creating immediate response mechanism through panic buttons in mobiles, public and private transport, surveillance mechanisms in public places.
• Creating eco-systems to encourage entrepreneurship amongst women: Through platforms like Mahila E-Haat, dedicated theme based exhibitions, focussed skill training, mentoring through Women Entrepreneurship Council, availability of easy & affordable credit and financial inclusion.
• Training and capacity building of all stakeholders: Through Gender Champion initiative, frontline workers, women sarpanches and all officials dealing with policy and delivery systems impacting women.
• Facilitating women in workplace: Through gender friendly work place, flexi timings, increased maternity leave, provision of child care/creches at workplace, life cycle health care facilities.
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