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Sansad TV: New India Debate- International Women’s Day

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History and significance:

  • IWD has been celebrated for over a century now, but many people think of it purely as a feminist cause.
  • Its roots, however, are found in the labour movement,wherein it was first organised in 1911 by the early 20th century Marxist from Germany Clara Zetkin.
  • International Women’s Day 2023 was observed on March 8 under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”.

What colors symbolize International Women’s Day?

Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day.

  • Purple signifies justice and dignity.
  • Green symbolizes hope.
  • White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept.

Economic Empowerment:

  • Women in unorganized sector – provision of social security, leave, wages, working conditions, pensions, health benefits, maternity benefits, housing childcare, safety and occupational health etc.
  • Women in services sector where there is poor gender ratio, improving women’s participation, special tax incentives for women headed enterprises, women employees, women entrepreneurial ventures etc.
  • Promotion of skill development / vocational training/ training in traditional skills, and in other trades which promote employment of women especially in unorganized sector.
  • Construction/ Facilitating amenities for rural and urban poor women – toilets / housing / drinking water facilities.
  • Work towards promoting young talent in particular young entrepreneurs.
  • Working to promote women and girls in the field of science and technology

Need for an International Women’s Day:

  • Women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world.
  • Yet, women under 30 are less than 1 per cent of parliamentarians worldwide.
  • This is why, this year’s International Women’s Day is a rallying cry for Generation Equality, to act for an equal future for all.

Reasons for Declining Participation of Women in Employment:

  • The major pulldown is among the rural women as per Ministry reports where agriculture is shrinking and we donot have a robust manufacturing sector yet, we are investing it now and it will take time to reap benefits.
  • There are a lot of crimes against children inside and outside house so parents feel atleast one parent should stay at home and being a patriarchal society the burden comes to the women
  • One big factor is maternity. Many women who join the workforce are unable to re-join after having a child.
  • The landmark legislation, which entitles a woman to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave is becoming a big hurdle.
  • As per a study this increased cost for companies and this may discourage them from hiring women.
  • Concerns about safety and Harassment at work site, both explicit and implicit.

Social Empowerment:

  • Curbing violence/ discrimination against women – sexual, communal or sectarian – at homes, work places and public place.
  • Promoting value of girl child: improving child sex ratio.
  • Promotion of education of girls and women at all levels – bridging gender gaps.
  • Women and Media – Dissemination of women’s issues to make a positive impact on lives of women and girls, curtailing harmful effects of T.V on women’s lives through gender – informed media policy promoting – message of gender equity through positive programming and information dissemination on laws and schemes.
  • Encourage women to hold leadership roles and promote women in decision making.
  • Effective implementation of women related legislations such as Dowry Prohibition Act, Domestic Violence Act, PC-PNDT Act and Immoral Traffic Act.
  • Contribution in Gender mainstreaming and strengthening delivery systems through State Commissions for Women, District Legal Service Authorities etc.
  • Have made efforts towards environment protection, promotion of art, culture and Indian heritage.
  • Positive actions carried out by villages/groups in favour of women & girls

Way Forward:

  • Science needs the best scientists, and a knowledge economy needs a gender-balanced workforce.
  • Women need the 3C’s Confidence, Capabilities, access to Capital. Men need to understand that women are their equals.
  • Government policies should focus on behavioural changes that make female employment more acceptable in the society.
  • Government schemes must target the fundamental cultural and social forces that shape patriarchy.