Union WCD Minister Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
released the draft National Policy for Women, 2016 today for stakeholder
comments and consultations. Releasing the draft policy at a press conference in
New Delhi, the Minister stated that the Policy is being revised after 15 years
and is expeceted to guide Government action on Women’s issues over the next
15-20 years. The Minister stated that several things have changed since the
last Policy of 2001 especially women's attitude towards themselves and their
expectations from life. She stated that in view of this the new draft Policy
shifts the focus from entitlements to rights and from empowerment to creating
an enabling environment. She has requested for widespread comments on the draft
policy so that the final policy document can be a true reflection of the voice
of all women.
The Salient features of the policy are as
Nearly a decade and half has
passed since the National Policy for Empowerment of Women, 2001 was formulated.
Since then significant strides in global technology and information systems
have placed the Indian economy on a trajectory of higher growth impacting the
general populace and women in particular in unique and different ways. The discourse on women’s empowerment has been
gradually evolving over the last few decades, wherein paradigm shifts have
occurred –from seeing women as mere recipients of welfare benefits to
mainstreaming gender concerns and engaging them in the development process of
the country. These changes have brought forth fresh opportunities and
possibilities for women’s empowerment while at the same time presenting new and
emerging challenges which along with persisting socio-economic problems
continue to hinder gender equality and holistic empowerment of women. The
policy aims to create sustainable socio-economic, political empowerment of
women to claim their rights and entitlements, control over resources and
formulation of strategic choices in realisation of the principles of gender equality
The policy envisions a society
in which, women attain their full potential and are able to 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.
The broad objective of the policy is
to create a conducive socio-cultural, economic and political environment to
enable women enjoy de jure and de facto fundamental rights and realize their
Health including food security and nutrition: Focus
on recognizing women’s reproductive rights,
shift of family planning focus also to males, addressing
health issues in a life cycle continuum such as psychological and general
well-being, health care challenges related to nutrition/ hygiene of
adolescents, geriatric health care, 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, implement innovative
transportation models for better schooling outcomes, advocate gender champions
and address disparities with regard to ICTs.
Economy: Raising visibility, engendering
macro-economic policies and trade agreements, generate gender-disaggregated
land ownership database, skill development and training for women,
entrepreneurial development, review of labour laws and policies, equal
employment opportunities with appropriate benefits related to maternity and
child care services, address technological needs of women.
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, Legislations
affecting /relating to women will be reviewed/harmonized to enhance
effectiveness, Improve Child Sex Ratio (CSR), strict implementation of
advisories, guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) and protocols,
prevention of trafficking at source, transit and destination areas for
effective monitoring of the networks.
Enabling Environment: Gender
perspective in housing and infrastructure, ensuring safe drinking water and
sanitation, gender parity in the mass media & sports, concerted
efforts towards strengthening social security 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
The policy also describes emerging
issues such as making cyber spaces 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, Review of
criminalization of marital rape within the framework women’s human rights etc.
relevant in the developmental paradigms.
Operational strategies laid down in
the policy provide a framework for implementation of legislations and
strengthening of existing institutional mechanisms through action plan,
effective gender institutional architecture. Advocacy and Stakeholder
Partnerships, Inter-Sectoral Convergence, Gender Budgeting and generation of
gender disaggregated data have also been given due focus.
an enabling environment through continued and additional initiatives:
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 including youth 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
The Complete document can be accessed at website
of Ministry of Women & Child Development: http://wcd.nic.in/acts/draft-national-policy-women-2016