The Indian Government took a series of measures for ensuring safety, security and wellbeing of women during the coronavirus pandemic and the country is committed to building a just and equal post-COVlD-19 world for women and daughters, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani has said.
“Women numerically constitute half of the humanity but their influence transfuses all dimensions of society, polity and economy. In India, we recognise the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment in all aspects of our developmental journey,” Irani said in her address to the High-level meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women on Thursday.
As coronavirus hit, Irani said the “Government of India took a series of measures for ensuring safety, security and wellbeing of women during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These included ‘One Stop Crisis Centres’ providing medical, psychological, legal, police and shelter facilities to women under a common roof.
Additionally, during the pandemic all efforts are being made to ensure continuity of care for women, especially pregnant and lactating women and women in vulnerable situations, she said.
She further added that the ‘National Nutritional Mission’ launched to improve nutritional status of children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers seeks to make India malnutrition free by 2022.
Irani reiterated India’s commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
“What we achieved 25 years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women still remains our guiding light and source of inspiration,” she said adding that “India remains committed to building a just and equal post-COVlD-19 world for us and our daughters.”
During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, the high-level meeting was convened with the overall theme of “Accelerating the realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.
Twenty-five years after its adoption, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive and transformative global agenda for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Its 2020 progress review for the first time takes place in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 2030 Agenda, including SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, highlight the centrality of gender equality to progress across all the Goals and targets.
The Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, launched by world leaders in September 2019, contributes to the mobilisation of stakeholders to tackle both emerging and existing gaps in the realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
Irani said India is now focused on inclusive growth and deep reforms that together are bringing about transformational changes.
Heralding these changes under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has moved from a “paradigm of women’s development to women-led development", she said.
She noted that reservation of seats for women in local government has ensured that more than 1.3 million elected women representatives provide leadership in formulating and implementing gender sensitive public policies at the community level.
More than 200 million Indian women have been brought into the formal banking system through the Government’s Financial Inclusion Initiative.
Innovative use of digital technologies has provided equal opportunity for women to access insurance, loans, and social assistance.
Further, ‘Celebrating Girl Child and Enabling her Education’ is a multi-sectoral package of interventions and awareness campaigns that challenge gender stereotypes and realize girls’ right to education, she said.
“India today is attaching the highest priority to ensuring gender parity in all spheres of life and elimination of all forms of gender-based discrimination,” Irani said adding that several of the legislations in India such as those pertaining to sexual harassment of women at workplace, protection of women from domestic violence, protection of children from sexual offenses, and criminal laws’ amendments have been strong enablers of women empowerment and protection of children especially girls, over the past six years.