Empowerment of Women:Major Advancements over the Years
The Finance Minister Sh. Pranab Mukherjee, in the Economic Survey 2011-12, tabled in the Lok Sabha today has outlined some major advancement in the empowerment of women over the years. They are outlined below:
Women & Education: The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has had positive outcomes for girl child education leading to an increase in the gender parity index( GPI) in primary (0.94) as well as upper primary (0.92) education, Enrolment of girls at primary level and upper primary level increased over the years. Data also shows that the number of girls in schools in the age group of 5-14 years has increased from 79.6 per cent in 2004-05 to 87.7 per cent in 2009-10. Similarly, the number of girls in the educational system in 15-19 years age group increased from 40.3 per cent to 54.6 per cent over the same period. The challenge is to translate the high enrolment into high attendance rates.
The National Literacy Mission or Saakshar Bharat targeted female literacy as a critical instrument of women’s empowerment. This has led to an increase in literacy amongst women from 53.67 per cent (Census 2001) to 65.46 per cent (Census 2011). For the first time, out of the total of 217.70 million literates added during the decade, women (110.07 million) out numbered men.
Women & Health: Implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has resulted in an improvement in many development indicators for women. As per the India Human Development Report, fertility rates have come down and have reached replacement levels in a number of states; Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has come down to 212 per 1,00,000 live births in 2009 from 301 in 2003. Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), though still high, has fallen to 50 per 1000 in 2009. Institutional deliveries have risen from 39 per cent in 2006 to 78 per cent in 2009.
Women & Economy: An important strategy for financial inclusion of women, which is crucial for their integration into the economy, has been micro-finance. The model encourages access of SHGs to banks both as a means of savings and as providers of loan services. By March 2010, 69.53 lakh Self Help Group (SHGs) including those formed under the SGSY had been covered under the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development’s (NABARD) SHG-bank linkage programme. Of these 76 per cent are exclusively women SHGs, accounting for 72.5 per cent of savings and 82 per cent of outstanding loans.
Promoting Gender Mainstreaming Through Gender Budgeting (GB): Recognizing that women, constituting 48 per cent of India’s population, lag behind men on many social indicators like health, education, and economic opportunities and warrant special attention due to their vulnerability and lack of access to resources, GB, as a tool for achieving gender mainstreaming, has been adopted by the government in 2005. The magnitude of GB allocations as a percentage of total budget has also gone up from 2.79 per cent in 2005-06 to 6.22 per cent in 2011-12.
National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW): The NMEW, an umbrella mission to strengthen inter-sectoral convergence and facilitate the process of coordination of all the women’s welfare and socio-economic development programmes across ministries and departments, was launched on 8 March 2010 to ensure economic and social empowerment of women. The NMEW is piloting the ‘convergence model’ across the country in 32 select districts with the aim of bridging the gap between demand and supply of women-related services by undertaking realistic estimates of the demand, creating greater awareness about women-bsed schemes and programmes of the Government, augmenting the demand for various services/schemes for women, and connecting them with the service providers. The model includes introduction of convergence-cum-facilitation centres for women at district, tehsil/block and village levels. The first such pilot convergence project was launched in Pali district in Rajasthan on 16 September 2011 with the opening of 150 village-level centres.