“The full and equitable participation of women in public life is essential to building and sustaining strong vibrant democracies.”
Why are women important?
The latest economic census of India have once again shown the generational gap between men and women in the workforce. Only a quarter of workers in the workforce all across India are women, the census reports. This figure is significantly lower in urban India at 19%.
The economic census captures the trends in non agricultural employment in the country. The National Sample Survey Office(NSSO) reports on employment, which includes data on both agricultural and non- agricultural employment, show that India today has among the lowest female representation because of massive withdrawal of women from farms in the past few years.
While the economic participation of women is considerably lower than men in all states, there is wide inter-state variation across India. Here are few fields in India where women need to be represented:
1.Women in politics:
People might feel repugnant when they see women capabilities when they enter politics. It is a fact that even though some support is present for women entering politics, but deep inside, on the grass-root level, women will not be given the same support as male candidates. The active participation of women, as the parallel to male is necessary and we are hoping to predict a society where men and women are given equal representation.
Women and men have the same amount of capacity and yet women are denied their right to make decisions. The difference in sex may manifest in family relationships, but there is no reason at all for it to assert itself in the cultural, political, emotional or commercial matters.
The sexist idea of restricting women to work connected with the home is motivated by the desire to build strong networks and communications and a diverse and vibrant democracy where both the binary genders can grow and develop.
From suffragettes to modern day feminism both men and women have battled rights of women. Right from voting rights to hold office in the Parliament. Up to 2015, women of every country have the right to vote and the first country to do that was New Zealand in 1893 and the last country was Saudi Arabia in 2015.
2.Representation of women in color in law: The National Association for Law Placement (NALP) found that every year since 2009 there has been a decline in African- American Associates from 4.66% to 3.95%. According to the press release of NALP on November on November 2016, 2.55% of partners are women of minority groups.
In a 2008 survey, by the National Association of Women’s lawyers(NAWL), the report found that African-American women view their workplace as racially or ethnically stereotypical and exclusionary as a result. Women of color also felt that law forms were not taking action to increase diversity and when actions were taken they were not executed effectively.
3.Women organizations in India:
- Women Law and Litigation:
Women in Law and Litigation India,(WLL) was formed in India in 2014 by women lawyers, judges and legal professionals to deal with gender discrimination faced by women in the field of law. The litigating public prefers to deal with male lawyers.
- Women Indian Associate(WIA):
The Women’s Indian Associate was formed by European initiative for the upliftment of women. It was founded on 8th May 1917 in Adyar, Madras, by multi-ethnic group of women. It was the first major feminist group in India which remains in operation today.
The WIA’s success can be attributed to it’s secular agenda for women of all sects, classes and castes, and it’s initial effects use of the framework of the Theosophical Society, whose president, Annie Besant, who was chosen as the first WIA president. The honorary secretaries were Margaret Cousins, a teacher and Irish Suffragist, Dorothy Jinjidasa, the Irish wife of a Sri Lankan Theosophist.
- SEWA: Out of the female labor force in India, more than 94% of workers work in the unorganized sector, yet this demographic largely remains invisible due to the self-employed nature of their work. Since these women are not part of the mainstream salaried workforce, they do not access to the welfare benefits that labourers in the traditional workforce do.
Initiated in 1972, the Self Employed Women’s Association or SEWA is a trade union made up of poor and self-employed female workers that earn a living through self-run businesses or personal labor. The organization aims to organize women so that they can access full employment and it’s benefits.
Snehalaya – Snehalaya translates to “home of love” and is an NGO that was founded in 1989 in the Indian city of Ahmednagar. The NGO provides support to women, children and LGBT communities. Snehalaya specifically focuses on these vulnerable members of society that have suffered at the hands of HIV and AIDS, trafficking, sexual violence and poverty.
Snehalaya has made great strides in raising awareness for these disadvantaged communities and continues to offer safe havens and escapes to women and children imprisoned in the cycle of poverty and abuse. Currently, the organization reaches more than 19,000 beneficiaries a year by offering services including:
- orphanages for children rescued from the sex trafficking industry;
- offices that offer emergency care for abandoned infants in addition to medical and psychological support for expectant mothers;
- 30 emergency safe houses for women and children experiencing domestic violence;
- 100 25-acre Himmaatgram Bio farms that provide sustainable produce for Snehalaya projects; and a free telephone helpline for children and the public to help at-risk children that receive around 300 calls a day.