Women Safety and Rights : Frontier IAS current affairs I upsc I HCS I RAS I UPPCS I general Studies
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Women Safety and Rights : Frontier IAS current affairs I upsc I HCS I RAS I UPPCS I general Studies
Topic : Women Safety and Rights
Violence against Women
What is Violence against Women?
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as :
“Any act of gender based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.
It encompasses, but is not limited to, “physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, nonspousal violence and violence related to exploitation; physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere; trafficking in women and forced prostitution; and physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the state, wherever it occurs.”
Types of Violence against Women
Type of violence
Sex-selective abortion; effects of battering during pregnancy on birth outcomes
Female infanticide; physical, sexual and psychological abuse
Child marriage; female genital mutilation; physical, sexual and psychological abuse; incest; child prostitution
Adolescence and adulthood
Dating and courtship violence (e.g. acid throwing and date rape);
sexual abuse in the workplace; rape; sexual harassment; forced prostitution; trafficking in women; partner violence; marital rape; dowry abuse and murders; partner homicide; psychological abuse; abuse of women with disabilities; forced pregnancy
Forced “suicide” or homicide of widows for economic reasons; sexual, physical and psychological abuse
Reasons for violence against Women:
- Delayed Justice
- Police inefficiency
- Long time in the investigation phase
- Social Stigma
- Improve the number of women in every sphere of society.
- Change in patriarchal mind set of people
- Educating Women
- Fast-track courts to hear the cases
- Only strict laws can not solve the problem of women safety in India rather the implementation of these laws in a time bound manner can solve the issue to a large extent.
- The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Constitution of India. In order uphold and implement the Constitutional Mandate, the State has enacted various laws and taken measures intended to ensure equal rights, check social discrimination & various forms of violence and atrocities.
- Although women may be victims of any of the general crimes such as ‘murder’, ‘robbery’, ‘cheating’, etc. only the crimes which are directed specifically against women i.e. gender specific crimes are characterised as ‘Crimes against Women’.
What is Women Safety?
- Women’s safety involves strategies, practices and policies which aim to reduce gender-based violence (or violence against women), including women’s fear of crime.
- Women’s safety involves safe spaces where they can move freely, can work freely (Work spaces, Residence)
- Women’s safety involves freedom from poverty.
- Includes safe access to water, the existence and security of communal toilet facilities in informal settlements, slum upgrades, gender-sensitive street and city design, safe car parks, shopping centers and public transportation.
- Involves financial security and autonomy.
- Includes economic empowerment of women
- Includes improving knowledge and attitudes that correspond to the origins of domestic or sexual violence, such as adherence to societal norms supportive of violence,
- Includes Women’s and girls’ full participation in community life, in local governments must be pursued, and including a full diversity of women and girls in local decision-making Women’s safety means a safer, healthier community for everyone.
- This is a participatory process focused on changing community norms, patterns of social interaction, values, customs and institutions in ways that will significantly improve the quality of life in a community for all of its members
Global Statistics on Women Safety
As per United Nations:
- 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence or sexual violence by a non-partner (not including sexual harassment) at some point in their lives.
- It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.
- Adult women account for nearly half (49 per cent) of all human trafficking victims detected globally.
- It is estimated that there are 650 million women and girls in the world today who were married before age 18.
- Eighty-two per cent of women parliamentarians who participated in a study conducted by the Inter-parliamentary Union in 39 countries across five regions reported having experienced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms.
International steps taken
- UN Women is the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Gender inequality is pervasive, with women lacking access to decent employment and facing gender wage gaps. All around the world, women and girls are routinely denied access to education and healthcare; they are under-represented in economic and political decision-making and suffer from violence and discrimination. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.
- In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
The main roles of UN Women are:
- To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
- To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
- To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
- empowerment of women; and
- achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
UN Women India:
UN Women’s Office based in New Delhi covers four countries: India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
UN Women stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on six priority areas:
- Ending violence against women
- Promoting Leadership and Participation
- National Planning and Budgeting
- Economic Empowerment
- Peace and Security
India Statistics on Women
- According to the NCRB report,2019, a total of 4,05, 861 cases of crime against women were registered during 2019 over 2018 when total cases of crime against women were registered 3,78,236, showing an increase of 7.3 per cent, nationally.
- Majority of the cases of crime against women were caused due to cruelty by husband or his relatives’ (30.9 per cent), followed by ‘assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty’ (21.8 per cent), ‘kidnapping and abduction of women’ (17.9 per cent) and ‘rape’ (7.9 per cent).
- The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 62.4 in 2019 in comparison with 58.8 in 2018.
- As per the horrifying statistics, every 16 minutes, a woman is raped somewhere in India, and every four minutes woman experiences cruelty at the hands of her in-laws. In 2019, the country had recorded 88 rape cases every day.
- The majority of cases under crime against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (30.9%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (21.8%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (17.9%) and ‘Rape’ (7.9%). The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 62.4 in 2019 in comparison with 58.8 in 2018”
Initiatives taken by Government of India
The Government of India accords utmost priority to safety of women in the country.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India have undertaken a number of measures for enhancing safety of women in the country.
- Non-lapsable corpus Nirbhaya Fund for enhancing safety and security of women.
- ‘One Stop Centre’ for violence affected women,
- Scheme of ‘Universalisation of Women Helpline’
- Scheme of ‘Mahila Police Volunteers’ under Nirbhaya Fund Framework.
- The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’,
- ‘The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961’
- ‘The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986’
- The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006’.
- ‘The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015’
- ‘The Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005’
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012’.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment), Act 2013 was enacted for effective legal deterrence against sexual offences.
Recent Initiatives taken by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India for safety of women
- An online analytic tool for police has been launched in 2019 called “Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences” to monitor and track time-bound investigation in sexual assault cases in accordance with Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018.
- “National Database on Sexual Offenders” (NDSO) has been launched by MHA in 2018 to facilitate investigation and tracking of sexual offenders across the country by law enforcement agencies.
- Emergency Response Support System (ERSS), which provides a single emergency number (112) based computer aided dispatch of field resources to the location of distress has been operationalized in 20 States/ UTs in 2018-19.
- A cyber-crime portal has been launched in 2018 for citizens to report obscene content. Further, Cyber Crime Forensic Labs have been set up in several States, and training of over 3,664 personnel, including 410 Public Prosecutors and Judicial Officers in identifying, detecting and resolving cyber-crimes against women and children has been imparted.
- Using technology to aid smart policing and safety management, Safe City Projects have been sanctioned in phase-I in 8 cities (Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai) under Nirbhaya Fund.
- In order to improve investigation, steps have been taken to strengthen DNA analysis units in Central and State Forensic Science Laboratories.
- One Stop Centre (OSC) scheme
- SHE portal
Women Safety and Rights