In an attempt to empower women, the government recently released a draft policy for women empowerment which focuses on improving the standard of living of women. Areas like education, nutrition, and security have been prioritised in the draft. The policy is drafted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and also involves suggestions from various stakeholders.

The draft envisions a society in which, women attain their full potential and are able to participate as equal partners in all spheres of life.

The Women and Child Ministry have prepared the draft National Policy for Women after considering suggestions/comments received from stakeholders. The Draft envisions a society in which, women attain their full potential and are able to participate as equal partners in all spheres of life. The draft policy addresses the diverse needs of women through identified priority areas: (i) Health including food security and nutrition, (ii) Education, (iii) Economy (including agriculture industry, labour, employment, NRI women, soft power, service sector, science and technology), Violence against women, (iv) Governance and decision making (v) Violence Against Women (vi)  Enabling environment (including housing, shelter and infrastructure, drinking water and sanitation, media and culture, sports and social security) (vii) Environment and climate change.” Smriti Irani informed about the draft policy in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

“Good to see that the government is stressing upon women related issues. But some other factors like reachability of the policy and its benefits should also be taken into care. Many a time, the benefits don’t even reach people they are intended for. So cannot possibly say that the policy will benefit women and empower them for sure.” says Sadhna Shukla, currently pursuing a doctorate in Political Science.

According to a report by UNICEF, a third of women of reproductive age in India are undernourished. It is also well known that an undernourished mother gives birth to an undernourished child, thus contributing to a cycle of undernourished generation.

According to a report by UNICEF, a third of women of reproductive age in India are undernourished. It is also well known that an undernourished mother gives birth to an undernourished child, thus contributing to a whole cycle of undernourished generation. Even if we satisfy ourselves by saying that we have enough schemes for the child, the fact to be considered is that all those schemes are post birth. However, most of the development of a child takes place in the womb itself and hence fifty percent of the growth failure gets accrued by two years of age.

Though we are doing well in higher education for females, the statistics still stand at 86 women per 100 men who enroll for higher education, as per the latest data available (2016). The gender parity in primary level education is 1.03 which drops to 0.92 in higher education, meaning a considerate number of women drop out of schools as they head towards higher education. “Even though family planning schemes have been introduced by the government, there are families even today, who do not understand its value. There are families with 4-5 girl children only because they wanted a boy child. This affects the lives of girls as they are considered as a burden and hence are made to marry at an early age, thus impeding their career. The government should also introduce some particular benefits for girl children so that families do not consider them a burden and they too get to live a life of their own.” says Anubhuti Saran, a 30-year-old housewife who was married at an early age of 16.

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