Women empowerment
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This article is written by Anisha Bhandari, from Institute of Law, Nirma University. The article discusses the empowerment of women through international and national levels.

Introduction

The equality and sovereignty of women and the enhancement of their political, social, economic, and health status are very significant aims in itself. In fact, it is important for sustainable growth to be accomplished. The full participation and partnership of both women and men in productive and reproductive life is required, including shared responsibility for the care and nurturing of children and for the maintenance of the household. Women face threats to their lives, health, and well-being in all parts of the world as a result of being overburdened with work and their lack of power and influence.

Achieving change requires policy and program activities that will improve women’s access to secure livelihoods and economic resources, reduce their extreme homework responsibilities, remove legal barriers to their participation in public life, and increase social awareness through effective education and mass communication programs. In addition, improving the status of women also increases their decision-making capacity at all levels in all spheres of life, particularly in the field of sexuality and reproduction. This, in effect, is essential to the long-term sustainability of community initiatives. Experience shows that the population and development programs are most effective when steps are taken simultaneously to improve the status of women.

Policy making

The ability of countries to achieve sustainable growth and promote national competitiveness depends heavily on their ability to leverage and optimize the capacity of human capital in the economy. Women make up half of the talent pool in any region. Moreover, trust in institutions – a key component of a favorable investment environment and business growth is highly dependent on the degree to which decision-makers represent the diversity of society, including in terms of gender. Finally, achieving equitable and equal results includes equitable policy frameworks that incorporate the diverse viewpoints of both men and women.

Indeed, the progress of all policies to encourage gender equality in areas such as jobs, education, entrepreneurship, housing, access to finance, and beyond depends on the government’s ability to recognize and incorporate gender issues into the policy process, based on rigorous gender-disaggregated proof. This includes a clear institutional structure that can ensure that gender equity programs do not rely on the people and issues of the day.

Sustainability of gender equality campaigns and legislative inclusiveness results can only come from public institutions where the diversity of women and men is adequately reflected in decision-making, which have specific roles and obligations, are equipped with gender-sensitive policy-making tools and processes, and allow full participation of people and civil society. Using resources and data that help policymakers better understand the effects and needs of their policies and services on men and women is crucial to inclusive policy-making.

Global policies that help in the women empowerment

The Convention on the Abolition of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), introduced in 1979, lays out a wide-ranging bill on women’s rights focused on the removal of prejudice on different grounds. CEDAW contains a variety of articles that are specifically related to women’s economic empowerment. These include, inter alia, Article 10 on equal rights to education; Article 11 on equal employment, remuneration and protection for women, opportunities irrespective of pregnancy, maternity or marital status; Article 13 providing equal rights for women to family benefits and financial services; and Article 15 guaranteeing equality between men and women before the law. 

In compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention, the Committee shall: (1) accept correspondence from individuals or groups of persons who send to the Committee allegations of infringements of the rights covered under the Convention and (2) launch investigations into circumstances of significant or systemic infringement of the rights of women. Such protocols are voluntary and are only accessible if they have been approved by the State concerned.

The Committee also makes general guidelines and suggestions. General guidelines are presented to the States and involve the papers or topics of the Conventions.

On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ The 2030 Agenda came into force on 1 January 2016 and includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs were based on the previous Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) with a key difference: although the MDGs were in effect in developed countries alone, the SDGs advocate for change in all countries.

Gender is important in all 17 SDGs and there is a range of priorities within the system that specifically contribute to women’s economic empowerment.

Some of the SDG are:

  • SDG 1 – Fair access to human opportunities, public facilities, possession and management of land and other types of capital, succession, natural resources, emerging technologies, and financial services.
  • SDG 5 – Promote gender equity and encourage both women and girls; Consider and appreciate unpaid treatment and household jobs; Ensure complete and successful engagement and fair opportunity for women, Leadership, and economic activity; Offer women equitable access to economic opportunities, including land, properties, financial services, and inheritance.
  • SDG 8 – Complete and sustainable jobs and fair jobs for both women and men, including equitable wages for jobs of equal merit; Safeguard labour rights and foster a fair and stable working atmosphere for all workers, including migrant employees, in particular migrant women, and those in insecure employment. 

Both developed and developing countries are responsible for implementing these goals in their sense, for example by integrating them into national development strategies and/or sectoral policies.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)52 were the first comprehensive compilation of corporate and human rights principles which was explicitly adopted by all UN Member States on the Human Rights Council in 2011. The UNGPs lay down three pillars outlining the obligations of the state and the private sector to protect and advance the rights of all within the business context. The principles note: ‘(1) the State’s obligation to uphold human rights and to control corporations; (2) the responsibility of private individuals and businesses to honour or not infringe rights; and (3) the obligation of all parties to be active in seeking remedies when rights are breached.’

The Values are part of the broader responsibility that States have towards non-discrimination, but their understanding of the difficulties women face in the business world is minimal. The UNGP paper narrowly addresses women as a category who could pose ‘unique obstacles’ and ‘special threats’ for men in the business sector.

However, it does not expand on or call attention to the consequences of the various dangers posed by women and how they are likely to serve as an obstacle to their economic empowerment. Elaboration is also required on how to explicitly adopt the UNGPs to women’s rights as economic actors.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles, initiated in 2010, were the product of a partnership between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) and the United Nations Global Compact. They were adopted from the Calvert Women ‘s Principles, which include guidelines for how to encourage women in the workforce, in the economy, and in the society by emphasizing the economic argument for the inclusion of gender equality by corporate actors.

It aims to build high-level organizational leadership on gender equity; treat all women and men fairly at work; respect and promote human rights and non-discrimination; ensure the health, safety and well-being of all female and male workers; promote schooling, preparation and job growth for women; Implement enterprise growth, supply chain and communications activities that motivate women; Promote equity by civic programs and advocacy; Measure and publicly report on progress towards gender equality.

Women empowerment policies in India

The aim of the National Women’s Empowerment Policy (2001) is to foster the growth, development, and empowerment of women. Furthermore, the goals of this program shall involve:

  • Creating an environment through positive economic and social policies for the full development of women, enabling them to realize their full potential.
  • Equal access for women to health services, professional childcare at all stages, job and technical training, housing, fair compensation, workplace health and safety, social security and public office, etc.
  • Changing societal behaviours and civic activities through constructive engagement and commitment by both men and women.
  • Elimination of discrimination and other types of abuse against women and children.
  • Creating and expanding relations with civil society, in particular women’s organizations.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the Nodal Agency for all issues pertaining to the health, growth, and empowerment of women. To their benefit, strategies and systems have been developed. Such schemes are spread through a broad range of sectors, such as women’s need for housing, protection, security, legal aid, justice, intelligence, maternal health, food, nutrition, etc., as well as their need for economic sustenance through skills growth, education and access to credit and marketing. Various Ministry schemes are such as Swashakti, Swayamsidha, STEP, and Swawlamban, which allow economic empowerment. Economic help for women through professional growth, schooling, and access to credit and promotion is also one of the fields on which the Ministry has a particular emphasis.

The National Policy on Education ( NPE) of 1986, as revised in 1992, addresses three facets of elementary education.

  1. Easy connectivity and registration;
  2. Universal retention of children up to 14 years of age;
  3. A major increase in the standard of education in order to allow more children to reach critical standards of learning.

Until the end of the IV PIan, India’s main focus was on the overall growth of the economy and its dependence on the percolation effects of the growth. In the face of increasing hunger and deprivation, an innovative growth policy, involving a strategic assault on poverty, inequality, and deprivation, has been a national goal since the launch of the Fifth Strategy. This change in policy has contributed to a range of initiatives aimed at raising the purchasing power of the poor, enhancing the delivery of social facilities to the poor, and developing a protective framework in which the most disadvantaged parts of the population (women and children) can be covered.

The National Health Policy was formulated last in 1983 and, since then, there have been major shifts in the determinants of the health system. Access to, and gain from, the public health network has become very unequal between the better-off and the most disadvantaged parts of society. It has been mentioned in the policy document that this is particularly true of women, children, and socially disadvantaged sections of society.

The strategy acknowledges that a complex emerging community such as ours faces a variety of threats in the fiscal, educational, political, cultural, and environmental realms. All this convergence in the dominant imperative of alleviating mass poverty, considered to be of multiple dimensions of livelihood security, health care, education, empowerment of the disadvantaged, and the elimination of gender inequalities. The National Environment Policy seeks to broaden coverage and fill gaps that still exist, taking into account current knowledge and accumulated experience.

The core aspects of the policy are as follows: Almost a decade and a half have elapsed since the National Women’s Empowerment Policy was introduced in 2001. Since then, significant progress has been made in global technology and information. Systems have placed the Indian economy on a path of higher growth affecting the general population and women in particular in a unique and diverse manner.

Such developments have given rise to new possibilities and prospects for women’s advancement, while at the same time posing existing and evolving problems that, coupled with ongoing socio-economic barriers, tend to obstruct gender equity and the systemic empowerment of women. The goal of the strategy is to create sustainable socio-economic and political empowerment for women to assert their rights and entitlements, control of resources, and strategic choices in the implementation of the principles of gender equality and justice.

The policy envisages a society in which women have their full potential and are able to participate as equal partners in all spheres of life. It also emphasizes the role of an effective framework to enable the development of policies, programs, and practices to ensure equal rights and opportunities.

Need for the new policies

Ensuring gender equality, fostering women’s empowerment, and fighting discrimination and violence against women are the central parts of the national goal of equitable democracy and growth.

  • Women are important natural resource administrators and effective drivers of progress. Women are also more heavily reliant on natural resources and are liable for the unpaid work of obtaining food, water, fuel, and shelter for their families. “Not only victims, women have also been and can be central actors on the path to sustainability and green transformation.
  • Women are more susceptible to environmental pollution and climate change, but they do have specific experiences, interests, and proposals for improvement. Unless these are taken into consideration, with women encouraged to play a greater part in decision-making at all levels, environmental protection would remain a distant target.
  • We need a transformation of our economic thinking and new definitions of progress. Across politics, business and the media, we need to set up a system based on different values, with equality and sustainability at its core.
  • Improving the capacity of women to gain wages outside conventional jobs, increasing economic self-reliance, and guaranteeing fair access for women to the job force and social security systems.

Suggestions

  1. Health in association with food security and nutrition – Focusing on the acceptance of women’s human rights, changing family planning often centres on males, discussing life-cycle health problems such as social and general well-being, health care concerns relating to teenage nutrition/hygiene, geriatric health care, an extension of primary car insurance policies and resolving the intergenerational diet process.
  2. Education – Improving exposure to pre-primary schooling, enrolment and retention of young children, introducing creative travel strategies for improved educational performance, campaigning for gender champions, and reducing inequalities.
  3. Economy – Growing awareness, engendering macro-economic policies and trade deals, creating a gender-disaggregated land ownership database, improving expertise and training for women, entrepreneurial growth, updating labor laws and programs, fair access for jobs and sufficient compensation linked to maternal and child care facilities, tackle technical needs of women’s.
  4. Environment – Racial focus of education and services, providing clean drinking water and hygiene, racial equity of mainstream media and athletics, coordinated initiatives Strengthening social care and promoting programs for all people, particularly poor, disadvantaged, migrant, and single women.
  5. Climate Change – Addressing gender differences during crisis relocation and displacement in periods of natural calamity related to climate change and environmental degradation. Promoting climate sustainable, clean, non-conventional coal, alternative electricity options for women in rural households. The strategy often identifies current problems such as rendering cyberspaces a secure place for people, adjustment of gender roles, elimination of unpaid care jobs, examination of specific and traditional legislation in compliance with constitutional requirements, analysis of the criminalization of marital violence in the light of women’s civil rights, etc. applicable to developmental paradigms.

Conclusion

Empowering women to take important decisions about their personal growth is called women empowerment. It is to make women autonomous in all facets of life, be it thoughts or making the right decisions without constraints imposed by the society and the family. The empowerment of women is to bring equality into the social order in which men and women are equal in all ways.

Women empowerment is important if a country is to have a bright future, if society and the family are to survive. In ancient India, women were not treated the same as men, so in order for the country to develop, women must be given equal status as men. The goal of the policy is to bring about the growth, development, and empowerment of women. Alleviation of discrimination and all types of abuse against women and children. Women empowerment is the key to enhancing their involvement in decision-making, which is the key to socio-economic growth.

References


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