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Government\'s Initiatives for Gender Equality

- Ankesh, National Law University, Odisha

Women\'s economic advancement is central to equitable economic growth\'s national agenda and crucial to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs provide a transformative opportunity for every woman and child, anywhere, to undertake transformational steps to ensure equality.Investing in economic empowerment for women provides a clear path to gender equality, eradication of poverty and sustainable economic development. The integration of women and girls in the workforce and the provision of healthy jobs and public spaces must be followed by steps to deter abuse against women and girls, allowing them to fully engage in society and contribute to their communities\' wellbeing and development.

Economic empowerment for women is important to assist women in living with dignity in a violence-free climate. The decreasing child sex ratio (CSR), gender-based sex selection procedures, and child marriage all demonstrate to what degree racial segregation and social inequality remain major challenges for India. There is also a high prevalence of domestic abuse against women, with women from particular ethnic communities being more vulnerable to harassment from their husbands. Nevertheless, domestic violence has become the country\'s most reported sexual crime against women in the last 10 years, with a domestic abuse incident reported every five minutes.

The Government of India has taken measures to ensure that there is equality among genders in workplace, at homes and in the society overall. The government has launched various schemes which has been proven useful in the removal of gender gap which has been in the society. The Government of India has time to time as per the requirement has launched many schemes which has been proven a boon for this issue. Irrespective of the different political opinions one thing that has been evident from the beginning of Independent India is that all the government has worked towards this issue.

Need for Gender Equality

India is notorious for the discrimination between the sexes. Nonetheless, the government leaves no stone unturned for women\'s upliftment with the new world at the forefront.Several such strategies have been implemented, and are well-intentioned, but the real effects can be seen depending on execution style and performance. The State Policy recognizes equal rights for men and women.This is the aim that the government aims to accomplish. In line with the spirit of the Government Programme, we have aimed at formulating a concise Gender Equity Action Plan that reflects on practical steps and whose aims can be met realistically.

Gender Equality is the basis of a society, one cannot achieve full development in a society if there is no gender equality in the society. Any Government has a role to play in fostering equality in-general through certain policies. Such policies have overt and indirect effects on the social standing of both men and women. The chances of losing equality rise if such effects are not expected. Achieving the Action Plan targets includes broad-based ministry-to-minister cooperation.

Gender equity is a primary social principle and priority in India Reinforcing equity is a requirement for meeting the central objectives of the government\'s Education, Skills and Competence and Well-being Programme. The Government\'s Gender Equality Action Plan gathers policy priorities and steps related to promoting gender equality and combating discrimination. The Action Plan is a mechanism to implement gender empowerment policies in the country which includes steps for all ministries to share responsibilities in their respective branches of government. This was brought together to ensure that inclusion is always embedded in crucial social changes and core programs, in addition to the steps that strengthen the status of women and men.
A report which is of the title “Women and Men in India – 2015” by the “Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, Government of India” highlights the status of women employed in the different sectors of the societywhich are health, education, work(both industrial and corporate) andDecision taking amid societal obstacles to equality for women. There we can see how the country is in need of more steps for the gender equality initiatives.

Measures Taken by the Government

The measures taken by the government are quite direct in nature. They also have indirectly influenced the contribution and engagement of women in the wellbeing of the society as a whole which includes, both the household sector and the industrial sector (mainly the corporate sector).  If we go through the website of Press Information Bureau of India we see a lot of details of what the government has achieved and the steps taken by the government to ensure that there is gender equality for women in the society.
According to the 2011-12 National Sample Survey Study, male representation in the workplace is 54.4% and female 21.9%. According to the 2015 Indian Country Report of the “Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation on the Millennium Development Goals”, the percentage of women in wage employment of  non-agricultural sector increased to 19.3% during 2011-12, which is higher than 18.6% reported by the ‘National Sample Survey Organization’ during 2009-10.

In order to achieve this data government has taken certainly some steps which has helped, not only a fearless participation of woman in workplace but also in the other sectors of the Industry.Development pursued numerous capacity-building initiatives by periodically conducting training programs / workshops for state government employees.A separate Ministry of Capacity Creation and Entrepreneurship was established to boost the employability. The Equal Remuneration Act, 1973 allows for fair remuneration to be paid without distinction to men and women employees doing the same work of a similar nature. The Government has implemented the Unorganized Workers\' Social Security Act 2008 in order to ensure social security for the workers and women in the unorganized market.

Also, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, which regulates the employment of the t-other gender in various sectors of Industry has entitled the women to a maternity leave of 12 weeks before and after the birth of the child and other benefits regarding the same to the women working.

Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) Scheme is introduced as Maternity Benefit with conditionsImprove pregnant and lactating women\'s wellbeing and nutrition status and raise environment by offering cash benefits and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to partly account for income losses both before and after birth.

The 2013 “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act” has been enacted covering all the women, in spite of their age and employment status, and protects them from sexual harassment at workplaces, in both the public and private sectors of the industry where the women are employed.


In conclusion we can say that even though the steps which are taken by the government in this direction of women empowerment through removing the inequalities between women and men are commendable but there is still a lot to be done in this particular field.The government has prioritized reducing abuse against women and implemented special steps to tackle women and girls trafficking, domestic violence and sexual harassment. It has stepped up attempts at incorporating and integrating gender into policy making. The campaign "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" to save and motivate the girl child was unveiled in January 2015, and is gaining support nationwide. Women\'s training and jobs projects, along with microfinance schemes, touch underprivileged rural women in faraway corners of the country. There is now improving regulation to tackle sexual abuse, domestic violence and unfair remuneration.

References :- 

[1] ‘Measures taken by the Government for gender equality/socio-economic development/empowerment of women’<> accessed 12thApril 2020.
[2] ‘Gender Equality And Youth Development’<> accessed 13thApril 2020.