Updated: May 12, 2017 10:12:39 am
The draft National Policy for Women, 2017, that is being examined by a Group of Ministers, headed by Sushma Swaraj, would look at policies across all ministries “through a pink lens”, Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said. Speaking to The Indian Express on Thursday, Maneka said the revision of the existing 16-year-old National Policy for Women would involve looking at new and emerging problems faced by women.
“Things have changed a lot since 2001. Women are heading movements and demanding change, be it on the issue of triple talaq or female genital mutilation. This has never happened before. Hence, in addition to being welfare-based, we need a rights-based approach. Also, we need to deal with newer forms of violence, including cyberspace, the higher incidence of sexual harassment because of greater participation of women in the workforce or the issues facing single women due to the increased breakdown of marriages,” she said.
The National Policy for Women, 2017, after it is fine tuned by the GoM next week, would be sent to the Cabinet for approval. Maneka said, “We would like everyone to look at their policies through a pink lens.”
As an example, she pointed out how an attempt can be made to subvert established gender roles by getting the HRD ministry to include such teachings in school curricula.
“The policy will outline that all ministries should maintain sex disaggregated data, on everything from MGNREGA job generation to screening of cancer patients,” she said, adding that the same would be collated by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation so that it becomes easier to gauge whether policies factor in women and have the desired impact on them.
Public feedback which the GoM had sought could also be included in the policy.
A few of these will be incorporated by the Women & Child Development Ministry. “Some of the suggestions from the public include demand for cheaper menstrual hygiene products, self-defence classes for girls in schools, lower fees for children of widows and health cards to ensure compulsory breast or uterine screening,” Maneka
The proposed National Policy For Women, 2017, also talks about how “given the plurality of personal laws, a review is required… in accordance with Constitutional provisions.”
About an all-male five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, each of a different religion, hearing the triple talaq case, Maneka said the gender of the judge should have no bearing on the case. “This is not unusual. Women’s issues come up all the time before all-male panels. In every single case, the judge is not expected to remember whether he/she is male or female. I am sure they will decide for the rights of women, notwithstanding their religion. We need to move towards the light on this issue and the Supreme Court is a very important instrument for this,” she said.
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