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India: Of the Women, For the Women

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Women's Equality

If you are interested in applying to GGI's Impact Fellowship program, you can access our application link here.


About 1/6th of Women in World Live in India from which many are adorning high offices worldwide & as per LinkedIn Report of 2022, Women Founders grew 2.68 times (2016-21). But the picture is nebulous as the parity is too far to be achieved. There is still a side that needs attention if India has to become at par with other Developed nations.

Children and women have an important role in Indian society. Ironically, these are India's most susceptible sections as well. Women empowerment is the advancement of women and their acceptance and participation in decision-making. Additionally, it entails granting them equal opportunity for progress and development in society and rejecting gender prejudice.

According to Keshab Chandra Mandal, there are five different ways to describe female empowerment: social, educational, economic, political, and psychological. One of the types of empowerment that is perhaps most frequently depicted in the media is social empowerment. It improves women's relationships with others and elevates their status within societal systems, giving them more purpose outside of the house.

As per the statement made in Article 15(3), "Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children." It refers that for the welfare of women and children, the government of India has come up with numerous schemes focusing on their upliftment in the society.

Investing money in a woman’s education is still considered unnecessary in many parts of the country as she is expected to move into her in-laws house after marriage and live by their will. Moreover, dowry being a prevalent social injustice even today, a lot of money is needed to marry off a daughter. Such socio-cultural practices make girls undesirable. To skip the financial burden, some parents conduct female feticide.

The scheme that came in the limelight due to its catchy tagline was “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” by the NDA government back in 2015. It was launched with the idea to prevent gender biased selective sex elimination, to ensure survival, protection education and participation of the girl child. It is noteworthy that in the past 7 years of this scheme, The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao project has produced a number of encouraging results, including an increase in the number of females enrolling in schools.

One of the Asian nations where trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation has escalated to worrying proportions is India. While there is a sizable amount of internal trafficking between and within states, India has also emerged as a supplier of trafficked children and women to the Gulf States and South East Asia. Additionally, we have also become a destination country for women and girls who have been brought from Nepal and Bangladesh for commercial sexual exploitation.

UJJAWALA was a scheme launched by UPA government around 2007 to check on the trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation and facilitate the rescue of victims from the place of their exploitation to a safe custody. This scheme expands on to provide rehabilitation services as well, with both immediate and long term benefits to the victims by providing basic amenities/needs such as shelter, food, clothing, medical treatment including counselling, legal aid and guidance, and vocational training. In 2009–2010, a budget of Rs. 5 crores was allotted for this programme and 58 rehabilitation houses operating with 96 Ujjawala projects around the nation were launched.

NIRBHAYA scheme for women was launched in 2012 after the ghastly rape case during the winter ten years back. This scheme primarily focused on the safety and security for women at various levels. They are entrusted to ensure strict privacy and confidentiality of women’s identity and information. To undertake projects targeted at improving the safety and security for women in the nation, the Indian government also established a dedicated fund called the "Nirbhaya Fund." One of the programmes run by the Nirbhaya Fund, the "One Stop Centre (OSC) Scheme," has been in place nationwide since April 1, 2015.

The goal of such "One Stop Centres'' are to provide a variety of integrated services, such as temporary housing, legal and psycho-social counselling, medical assistance, and police facilitation, to women who have been the victims of abuse. Within a 2-kilometre radius of hospitals or other medical institutions, One Stop Centres must be established in either newly constructed structures with authorised designs or in existing structures. These Centres are being established throughout the country's districts as part of the plan. More than three lakh women have received assistance through the 704 OSCs that have already been operationalized.

In the patriarchal system of India, abusing women is considered acceptable. There are many different types of domestic abuse against women. Domestic violence is still pervasive despite the numerous laws designed to stop it and to punish those who commit it.

Domestic Violence faced by Women

In order to produce disaggregated estimates down to the district level, the NFHS-5 survey (2019–21) was performed in over 6.37 lakh sample homes in 707 districts across 28 states and 8 Union Territories, including 7,24,115 women and 1,01,839 males.

According to the poll, 32% of women who have ever been married have experienced spousal physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, and 27% had experienced at least one kind of abuse in the 12 months prior to the survey. 29% of women who have ever been married have encountered physical abuse from their spouse, and 14% have experienced emotional abuse.

The Women Helpline Scheme, through referrals to the necessary organisations, including as police, hospitals, ambulance services, the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA), protection officers (PO), and OSC, offers toll-free 24-hour telecom service to women who have experienced any form of abuse. They also give information on the proper government initiatives, programmes, and services that are accessible to the woman who has been the victim of violence, depending on her specific circumstances and the neighbourhood where she lives or works.

The Women Helpline (WHL) are meant to be reachable to any girl or woman experiencing abuse or in distress in the following ways for 24 hours per day, 7 days per week:

  • Phone calls made on landlines, cell phones, SMS/text messages, mobile applications, and faxes messages.

  • Emails, posts on the web, the online interface, social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, My Government, etc.

Another initiative was Mahila Police Volunteers launched in 2016. It is a central sector initiative that aims to connect public policy with public assistance for women in need. In order to enhance police outreach on gender issues, this plan calls for establishing a connection between the police authority and the local communities.

The objectives behind these initiatives are to increase the reporting and response to such crimes cases and also to fight the crimes such as domestic violence, dowry harassment, child marriage and violence faced by women in the public places. It also encourages women to come forward with complaints of violence and promotes a woman-friendly environment both within and outside the police or other authorities.

In the workplace, women also experience violence and discrimination based on their gender. This can relate to the salary, the advancements, or the office politics. According to a study from March 2019, women in India make 19% less money than males do. As per that report, the median gross hourly wage for males in India in 2018 was 242.49 INR, compared to 196.3 INR for women. Sexual assault against women is a problem in the workplace as well. Even disclosing a coworker's wrongdoing carries a lot of shame.

As a comprehensive programme for the protection, security, and empowerment of women, the Government of India has launched "Mission Shakti," a scheme which will be implemented during the 15th Finance Commission's mandate from 2021-22 to 2025-26. The plan aims to economically empower women and provide them the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies and brains in an environment free from abuse and danger. By encouraging skill development, capacity building, financial literacy, access to microcredit, etc., it also aims to lessen the burden of care on women and enhance their involvement in the labour force.

The two sub-schemes of "Mission Shakti" are "Sambal" and "Samarthya." The "Samarthya" sub-scheme is for the empowerment of women, whereas the "Sambal" sub-scheme is for the protection and security of women.

One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline (WHL), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), and Nari Adalats are some of the already functioning schemes that has come under the “Sambhal” section of the umbrella program of Mission Shakti. They promote and enable conflict resolution and gender justice in society and within families. The components of the "Samarthya" sub-scheme include modified versions of the earlier Ujjawala, Swadhar Greh, and Working Women Hostel programmes.

On November 19, 2019, Facebook and the Ministry for Women and Child Development teamed to improve digital literacy and online safety for women and children in India. "We Think Digital" is the name of the Global Literacy Program's campaign.

Numerous other steps taken by the executive wing of our nation has also come into light lately:

  1. Smriti Irani, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, remarked at the United Nations on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women that India recognises the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment in all facets of the development agenda. Smriti Irani, the minister for women and child development, emphasised that the government's financial inclusion initiative has helped more than 200 million women get access to the official banking system. Innovative application of digital technology has given women an equal opportunity to receive social assistance, loans, and insurance.

  2. Microsoft has announced a partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to teach digital skills to more than a lakh underprivileged women in India. This programme is an expansion of Microsoft's collaboration with NSDC to give more than 1 lakh young people in the nation digital skills. In order to provide young girls and women with possibilities to enter the workforce in the future, the initiative will organise a number of live training sessions and digital skilling drives, with a focus on first-time job searchers and those whose jobs may have been impacted by COVID-19.

  3. In recent years, there has been increased focus on the empowerment of women in India. One NGO is striving to assist underprivileged Indian women in achieving financial independence through one particular strategy: an all-women taxi company. The Women on Wheels initiative of the Azad Foundation benefits underprivileged women in India by giving them a reliable source of income and

In order to improve the lives of citizens and advance the nation as a whole, several more government programmes have been developed in India. The safety and empowerment of women and children are important concerns for the Indian government. These programmes offer solutions to the main issues affecting women in India and help to reduce the rising unfairness toward them.

It is sad to see how numerous schemes have been launched only for their safety and betterment but a huge proportion of women in our nation still remain ignorant of them as a result of their lack of knowledge. The major cause of this is female illiteracy. The 2011 Census shows that 82.1% of men and 65.5% of women are both literate. Rural places have a larger disparity. Women confront a variety of other issues and difficulties in addition to the limited educational options, which demand attention.

Gender Gap

A report on the gender gap that was just released by the World Economic Forum has generated discussion. In the Global Gender Gap Index, India is ranked 135th out of 146 nations, and it anticipates that it will now take 132 years to achieve gender parity. The World Bank has estimated that gender parity can increase GDP by 25%, so it is crucial to pay this topic the attention it deserves and to understand it in the context of India. This will help India contribute to the realisation of our global goals.

If more women are to act as change agents, equal access to and completion of educational requirements is required. Women's literacy is crucial for enhancing family health, nutrition, and education as well as for enabling women to take part in societal decision-making.

The "3Ls" of women's empowerment are leadership, labour, and learning. Women who learn can get a wealth of knowledge that broadens their thinking. It aids women in overcoming challenges. Mahatma Gandhi said, "If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you teach a whole family" A well-known African proverb reads, "If you educate a boy, you educate a man. But if you educate a girl, you educate an entire village".


Meet The Thought Leaders

Karan Patel (he/him) is a mentor at GGI an undergraduate from IIT Madras. He is correctly employed with Teachmint, an ed-tech start-up in their strategy team. Prior to Teachmint, he worked at Dalberg Advisors as an analyst where he worked with multi-laterals and international foundations on gender, education and energy sectors. He has also interned in MIT Sloan, Qualcomm and IIM Ahmedabad giving him a plethora of experience in the corporate and academic world. He also started his own venture in hyperlocal air-quality monitoring. Karan is an avid sport-person and masala chai fantatic.

Meet The Authors (GGI Fellows)

Anjani is a recent graduate with Bachelor's degree in History Honours with Economics from Maitreyi College, Delhi University. She has a deep interest in Public Policy and before planning further studies, she wanted to explore the field by leveraging tools & opportunities provided by GGI. While aiming to work in the policy/diplomacy sector she wants to work for areas that need substantial improvement using her prior leadership experience and diverse knowledge of subjects.

If you are interested in applying to GGI's Impact Fellowship program, you can access our application link here.



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