Violence against women is not limited to physical assault only. Being forced to undergo sterilisation is also an instance of violence, the Finance Ministry’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, said today at an event, ‘Re-imagine Leadership for a World Unimagined’, organised by TiE Delhi, in collaboration with Talentnomics.

Subramanian talked about his initiative on raising awareness about women’s issues. “When I first came to India about two years ago, there was a lot of talk about violence against women. So in the first economic survey, we raised issues about violence, especially in the context of forced sterilization, which was highlighted in the survey. The second survey revealed the mother and child well-being issue like the cognitive ability of a child’s well-being depends a lot on the mother’s well-being both during and after pregnancy,” said Subramanian.

He added, “If you look at the average weight of women during pregnancy compared to Africa, India was a complete outlier and also the weight gain during pregnancy that Indian women have and again India was a complete outlier to other countries, so this was the issue that we highlighted. So then this policy, which is there in NFSA of giving Rs 6,000 incentive to pregnant women, is what we have been pushing.”

He also recalled that in economic surveys he conducted, essentially there used to be just men in his team but when once pointed out by his friend about this issue, he actually put efforts into changing it.

“We are trying to make amends on that and recently we had this interesting discussion on how economic surveys can work having women in the team and how it actually shapes it. It is also a work-in-progress and learning curve for people like me,” Subramanian told the audience.

He said that his biggest inspiration has been his daughter, Tia, who actively speaks on women’s role and issues in the US, in recognising gender differences in society.

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Picture credit- Livemint