Comments on TN Women’s Policy Draft


Tamil Nadu State New Policy for Women 2021 (Draft)


Swarna Rajagopalan, Ph.D., January 7, 2022

Managing Trustee, The Prajnya Trust

Link to the policy document

The Government of Tamil Nadu is to be commended on its effort to draft a new policy for the state’s women, and especially, for its effort to do so through a series of consultations. The draft document however, is disappointing. For a state with a radical tradition, a forward-looking government and a rich pool of expertise and experience in civil society, it simply reads like a vague checklist of politically correct terms and commonly known facts, with a few specific measures thrown in here and there.

The most striking substantive omission is the absence of the impact of COVID-19 on the policy. The pandemic was a major disruption in people’s life, setting us back individually and collectively, by a generation. Worse, it held up a mirror to our failures in the last 75 years. A policy that does not take cognizance of these—better social services, better community resilience, a universal basic income as social safety net, anticipation of increased violence levels, the impact of social inequality on service delivery—is doomed to ineffectiveness. We will not just be ‘building back’ but on many counts, be building for the first time, a more gender equal Tamil Nadu.

Comments on opening sections

  • The Vision and Mission statements could be rewritten more clearly:
    • Suggested Vision statement edit: In Tamil Nadu, all women will have equal access to all services and entitlements and equal opportunities for realising their potential and aspirations, without discrimination or the threat of any form of violence.
    • The Mission Statement has two discernible elements:
      1. Providing an enabling environment that is safe, secure, healthy and “aspirational” (It is not clear what “aspirational” means in a policy document. All policies are by definition, aspirational.)

2. Forging an operational convergence among government departments.

In writing both, one must ask what it is that is feasible, under the constitution and practically, for state governments to promise.

  • Guiding Principles are not principles really, and of the four, only one—enabling access–is within the scope of government action. ‘Enabling environments’ and ‘elimination of violence’ are aspirations and ‘empowering women from adolescence’ is really a project. Appropriate inclusions under ‘principle’ might be: equality, equity, gender transformation, intersectionality. These should be the filters that are used through the document to set priorities and suggest action areas.
  • The Core Objectives are a dizzying combination, a mishmash, of good intentions, highly specific projects and broad aspirations.
    • At minimum, might I suggest they are clustered into categories?
      •  Specific clarifications needed:
        • What is ‘graduating from livelihoods’?
      • Bridging the digital gap is a means to an end; is it an end in itself?
      • No.15: Should the state be providing emotional support, and how does it do this? What has been the track record of the state’s intervention in the private sphere? Its entry for violence prevention has been abysmal with even the police seeking to send women back to their abusers. Its tolerance of marital rape is an example of its thinking. It intervenes to police. So really, you want the state to be entering the realm of emotions too? This suggestion boggles the mind.
      • The best sex ratio in India is a really low aspiration. 
    • Across the report, it is clear that livelihoods and health are meant to be priority areas. It would be useful to state this upfront somewhere.
  • The ‘Present Scenario’ section is so brief it need not be there. Your options:
    • Remove it from here, create an appendix with all the data, and point to that from the Preamble section.
    • Expand it in a meaningful way but to no more than one page. Your readers already know this.
  • “Women Empowerment” is not correct just because it is widely used. Can we please make this “Women’s Empowerment”?
  • The TN government might want to consider who it lists as stakeholders. “Stakeholders” means one of these three:
  • 1: a person entrusted with the stakes of bettors (original, gambling)
  • 2: one that has a stake in an enterprise
  • 3: one who is involved in or affected by a course of action

The policy document lists only planners and implementing agencies as stakeholders and lists sections of women as people ‘covered.’ Are citizens not stakeholders in policy? And when we do not recognize this, we reveal a planning philosophy that is anchored in feudal “I will deliver you through my greatness” thinking. This is anathema in a democracy. Therefore, TN women might be designated primary stakeholders and all those presently listed as stakeholders, perhaps can be designated as project or programme stakeholders. Or implementing partners.

  • The State through this policy is committed to adopt a just, humane, and sensitive approach in acknowledging, identifying, and addressing socio-economic vulnerabilities of women in order to protect them from different forms of discrimination and violence.” This is a good sentence that belongs in the preamble.
  • No argument with the categories for special focus except that the only people left out are middle class women in heterosexual marriages.
  • Given that this is a Tamil Nadu document, the omission here of transwomen and other non-binary categories is striking.

The doc teeters from project description to universal principle. There should be consistency. And in a policy document, there should be a combination of vision, guiding values that suggest what priorities will determine what we do and HOW we do, a clear listing of priority areas, and there should be a few things we clearly say we will do this.


As it reads, this section suggests that the wish to make everyone feel heard overtook the more challenging policy imperative of setting state priorities.

  • The core focus areas of empowerment would be based on the guiding principles stated above thus optimizing opportunities, leveraging on current strengths, and hinging on collaboration between key stakeholders.” But the Guiding Principles do not really direct, and the rest of the sentence means very little.
  • Should a policy document dwell so long on theoretical statements?
  • “Four pillars of empowerment” sounds really nice, but the fourth particularly begs the question, posed earlier: How does a state empower its citizens, and should it even try to do so?
    • Moreover, there is a great deal of overlap between the four pillars, so is there a more rational way to categorise whatever it is that follows?
  • The primary preoccupation of the policy is with improving and securing work for women. The secondary concern is health. It might be most useful to abandon the pillars and simply write about these first and then others. That will allow you to orient the whole policy towards these priorities.
  • This means this section is not ‘Implementation Strategies’ (and strictly speaking, there not many strategies here) but ‘Priority Action Areas.’


  • Women’s empowerment and their ability to hold others to account, is strongly influenced by their individual assets (such as land, housing, livestock, savings) and capabilities of all types: human (such as good health and education), social (such as social belonging, a sense of identity, leadership relations) and psychological (self-esteem, self-confidence, the ability to imagine and aspire to a better future).” The listing of social and psychological assets is excellent!
  • Why are voice, representation and identity just collective assets? Does the individual not matter?


From this point on, where things should get more specific and organized, the report starts sounding like a college essay answer: full of high-sounding truisms that one cannot mark wrong and lacking in specifics that would in fact indicate knowledge and excellence.

  • What is a ‘gender segregation cycle’?
  • Reducing dropouts of girl children in secondary education by 10% every year and increasing enrolment by 5% in tertiary education. Incentives shall be provided to girls from poor economic backgrounds to pursue higher education in any field of their choice.” What here is a target, what is a policy and what is a project?

This is one of the most cogent sections of the report. It could still be organized into a better flow and with sub-headings. Since education-related measures and ideas are scattered all over, it might useful to aggregate them in one place.

Health, sanitation and nutrition

  • Would ‘health, nutrition and sanitation’ be a more logical ordering?
  • The opening ‘background’ para is redundant. This section should lead with the text in 1.2.2. Every section should have a statement like that in the opening that would serve as an orientation and filter for what is to follow.
  • The mention of hooks for dupattas is heartwarming. Someone on this committee has read the feminist literature on public spaces!
  • Again, the section would be better if organized to group issue areas more clearly: SRHR, nutrition, access to sanitation, health care workers, etc. Geriatric health care can be brought in here too.
  • 1.2.15: Will the TN policy take cognizance of the concerns of the women who are primary/ last mile health care providers?

Written during the pandemic, the draft barely touches on the improvements needed in the public health system.


  • The affirmation of a commitment to intersectionality is excellent and consistent with the Periyarist-Ambedkarite legacy of social movements in the state. However, the relegation of intersectionality to one hotchpotch section as an ‘implementation strategy’ takes us back to the suspicion that this was an item on a checklist of political correctness. Intersectionality is actually a guiding principle.
  • What is included under this section is also either revealing or puzzling:
    • All vulnerable, destitute and women belonging to minorities, differently abled, transgender, women headed households, deserted, widows, unattended elderly women shall be accorded priority”
    • “Differently abled young women and girls shall be given similar sex and relationships education in schools so that they are not vulnerable to exploitation” Are we suggesting that it is their lack of knowledge that makes them vulnerable, rather than the will to exert power?
    • This section is primarily about women with disabilities but could some of this not be integrated into the main discussions? Why marginalise them under a mysterious sub-heading that makes no sense?
    • The point about social protection for women-headed households does not belong here.
    • Much of this is about sex and sexuality education. Can it be moved to the education section? Can we hope for some candour from the TN govt?

Elimination of Violence

  • The opening paragraph instrumentalises the elimination of violence. What we are saying is: These are the consequences of violence, so it must be eliminated. If there were no consequences, violence would be okay. This is the wrong message.
    States should care about the elimination of violence for two more fundamental reasons. First, violence is a violation of the fundamental social contract between citizens and the state where the citizens submit to the authority of a state in return for its protection from violence. This is the first job of any government. Second, sexual and gender-based violence are violations of human rights and fundamental rights. Guaranteeing these is also the job of the state.
    If you must list instrumental reasons for eliminating violence, then let those be secondary.
  • The point about convergence of state efforts is very important. It is also one of the few things that reads like a policy choice in this document.
  • 1.4.1 Nice to recognize the denial of education—that is, structural violence—as violence. But instead of the dubious intersectionality section that is, we could have actually had a discussion about the structures that amount to violence in the preamble, in the context, etc.
  • Also in 1.4.1— “It shall identify and combat violence and abuse through a combination of laws, programs, and services with the support of diverse stakeholders.” This is what a policy does.
  • 1.4.1: “A common platform integrating the existing helplines, One stop centers, shelters, legal forums, counselling and support mechanisms available and every single case shall be tracked till its logical conclusion.” The policy document does not acknowledge the many shortcomings of these systems—delayed appointments, lack of training, lack of resources—suggesting that the consultations did not involve service providers who actually work in this area.
  • 1.4.2 sounds wonderful but boycott from what?
  • 1.4.3: What will each of them consider a “gender-friendly environment”? Will the state sponsor gender sensitisation of school principals, administrators and teachers?
    • The Internal Committee is not the solution, cannot be the gender sensitivity police and if it is, what is the function of the taskforce mentioned in 1.4.4?
    • Further, while Balar Panchayats (What? Where? How?) sound good, is this how policing will go: Balar Panchayats > task force > Internal Committee > school?
  • 1.4.5: Can we cut to the chase and say something about forums to engage men and boys?
  • Why is 1.4.6 in the section on violence? Should it not be in the section on Education?
  • 1.4.7 is good. It is relevant, specific and actionable.
  • 1.4.8: The problem is not that counselors and women police are not there but that they are not sensitized.
  • 1.4.9: The Mahalir volunteer will not be part of the police, I gather. How will they be selected? Will they be trained? How much support will they have? What is the quality control with a volunteer?
    • Also, pasting the name and contact details of the volunteer is a bad practice unless it is an official line. Posting personal details is a violation of privacy and jeopardises the safety of the person.
  • 1.4.10 is also about the helpline. It could be added to the first point which is about coordination and convergence.
  • 1.4.10 “Gender based Violence will not be tolerated and strict action taken against the offenders.” Good and can go in the section opening.
    • Might be good to have consistent usage: violence against women, gender violence, gender-based violence.
  • 1.4.12 This suggests that alcohol consumption causes violence. Be that as it may, can anyone be forced to attend de-addiction programmes or counselling? Is there legal support for it?
  • 1.4.13 This is a pointless point. The law already says this. What would be more useful is for the policy to commit to setting up Local Committees and clarifying procedures at the district level for complaining and reporting. This is where the lacunae are right now.
  • 1.4.14 Technology is not a solution. And the private sector is doing this. There is also already the Kavalan app.
  • 1.4.15 The repeated reference in this section to alcohol suggests that it is the main cause for violence. It is not. The state profits from alcohol consumption and that is a problem in its own right, but to keep returning to this is to miss the big picture—patriarchy, impunity and other intersecting realities.

The problem with this section is that it is full of platitudes and good intentions. Where does the state actually need to intervene to eliminate gender-based violence, and where can it feasibly do so? This is the question that should be answered. But there is nothing in here that will move us in any direction in ten years.

What would I have liked to see? Some examples:

  • Not just an improvement of the child sex ratio but a concerted effort to secure the girl child, and all children, by addressing patriarchal preferences for boys:
    • An awareness campaign to address daughter discrimination
    • Closer checks at the ground level to monitor prenatal health and infant care, across genders, including nutrition
    • Stringent application of the PCPNDT Act
    • Anganwadis, nurseries, mobile creches with nutritious meals
    • CSA awareness and POCSO training for child-care workers
    • Strict monitoring to prevent child marriages
    • Swift trials and punishment for traffickers
    • Better training, resourcing and oversight of children’s homes
  • From childhood to adolescence, some of what the policy suggests is good but I would like to see an explicit commitment on the following:
    • Introducing SRHR/ sex education in schools, and training teachers properly to deliver this. Not moralistic advice on relationships.
    • The emphasis on sports and on building confidence is very important.
    • But can the government commit to making it easier to seek help and redressal for street sexual harassment, acid attacks? Young people are afraid to complain and that is a gap that must be bridged by building confidence and not installing cameras everywhere.
    • The measures on public transport are very important too.
    • The policy mentions Internal Committees, but those do not apply to school-based abuse. The government needs that clarity first.
    • Forced and early marriage, cyber-bullying, are also issues that concern teenagers. We need awareness for both prevention and redressal.
  • There is a network of domestic violence services—probation officers, social welfare offices, shelters—and we know they work ineffectively. Between government and NGO services, women in distress (and this is one in three women) are very poorly served. Can the policy make concrete commitments?
    • To review the functioning of the existing facilities critically—staffing, competence, service quality, resources, sensitization?
    • To set up better systems at each point, and integrate them (the emphasis on convergence is very good)
    • To create a cadre of social workers specializing in violence-related counseling, support, law and rehabilitation
    • To draw on the expertise in civil society to strike the balance between creating standards and policing?
  • The same is true of the One-Stop Centres. Also can we have greater transparency on the Nirbhaya Funds and a way to put them to use for violence prevention itself?
  • The policy mentions Internal Committees, but the government has failed in its part to set up Local Committees, to make them accessible, and to make them known. It would be better placed to address its own omissions and committing to fixing that.
  • The police are a state responsibility, and that means sensitization is a state responsibility:
    • Gender sensitization should be ongoing and it should be feminist—meaning the individual citizen and her needs are more important than preserving the family or community.

There are references to violence across the report that could be brought together (1.5.1, 1.5.2). Also, usage could be standardized: gender violence, gender-based violence, violence against women.

Social Protection

A common problem across the draft is that it conflates what should be with state policy. Example (1.5.4) “Compulsory registration of all marriages. Those marriages held in religious sites shall also be duly registered by the concerned authorities.” Yes, but a policy should say how the state is going to make this happen. This is already a rule but what is new about it in this policy? What is the state now adding to the mix?

The draft ends up sounding like it took a little bit from everyone and tried to make them happy rather than think rigorously about what should be Tamil Nadu’s policy.

Social protection actually should be about insurance, social benefits like rations and allowances, etc. Instead it is an extension of the education and violence sections.

Social security

What would be the difference between this and the previous section?

Legal: No comments


Again there are a lot of shalls and should that belong more in a rhetorical essay. How is TN going to “encourage the entry of women in the media industry through promotion of journalism and mass media courses and ensuring adherence to equitable work conditions,” for instance? How is the state going to ensure 50% women in editorial positions? It is not the place of a policy draft to paint the picture of a utopia but tell us which stretch of the journey the state is going to cover and how.

Even with content: where is the line between freedom of expression and ensuring sensitive portrayal and regulating content? The state must tread this line very sensitively as should we when we impose these expectations in a policy. There is also the question of what a state government has the power to do legally and what can it do practically? If a media organisation is in violation of any of this, but registered and operating from another state, and sending electronic data across, what can the state government do? The Censor Board is central. The drafting committee, time and again, pays no heed to jurisdiction or authority.


The attention to infrastructure is welcome and important. There are elements elsewhere in the report that could be brought together with these points.

1.9.2 De-addiction probably belongs with health.


This is probably the best thought through parts in the policy draft.

This section makes it clear that livelihoods and work are a priority in this policy document. The major edit I would make in the opening section is to draw out and minimize any background sentences. At this point in the document you don’t need to be preaching to anyone.  The actual plans could be better categorized as work conditions, benefits and leave, bringing together what is scattered.

2.4.3 again takes unto moralizing/ policing territory and proposes a very implausible scheme: “The households with men addicted to alcohol may be considered for insurance under a special scheme which is proportional to the amount of alcohol consumed (can be tracked from the bottles) so that the insurance payout may benefit households and help them move out of their impoverished state due to continuous alcohol consumption.” The state government is going to march around counting alcohol bottles? This is also a classist idea—I cannot imagine the police wandering around five star bars and pubs tracking consumption.

2.2.5 “Compulsory off for 2 days per week for women.” And this will be enforced how? At a time when ‘work’ itself is getting redefined, it may make more sense to talk about flexibility and remote work than to assume people are working in an office or factory.

2.2.6 “Women entrepreneurs find it difficult to get things done when it comes to every aspect of building a company. A women specific district wise help center/portal to be established preferably with an accountable call center.” Sentences like the first one are unnecessary. We want to know what the state plans to do.

Also, even as the government at every level, speaks of the ease of doing business, the paperwork around bank accounts, etc. are just getting more complicated. Can simplification or paperwork assistance be part of the government’s help?

“’2.2.10 There are very few women founders in high profile scalable businesses. A study to be done on this phenomenon and appropriate action items to be implemented.” What can the state government do about the private sector? Can the policy go beyond these nice sounding statement?

2.2.15 “Women focused Think Tank conclaves with the objective of bringing out issues, ideas and connections to work in a collaborative manner would be set up.” We must always be wary of state patronage of civil society or academic initiatives.

Climate change

At a time when countries (Chile) are rewriting the constitution to integrate climate protection, we are relegating climate change to the economics section. But climate change is not just an economic issue. It is also about displacement, broken communities, increased gender violence and rights.


While I agree with the sentiments in the opening paragraph, I am more concerned with the specific provisions in this section.

3.1.1 33.3% reservation for women (NOT women reservation) “horizontally and vertically.” What do “horizontally and vertically” mean? And will there be a state act governing parties in the state or state elections? How will this rule be enacted or implemented? Does the state even have this jurisdiction?

3.1.2 The same questions apply. By what authority will the state government enforce this? Will the ruling party adopt this?

3.1.2 (misnumbered) Will the graduates of this course be considered for tickets? Otherwise it will just be another certificate.

3.1.4 “Women political representatives shall be provided an enabling environment for women elected representatives to discharge their functions effectively.” What is that enabling environment and what will the state do?

3.1.5 “Women political representatives especially those belonging to the disadvantaged sections whenever they get affected by physical, psychological and social discrimination will be given due protection by the District Administration immediately as top priority.” Are we talking about caste and political violence? Are we talking about violence against women in politics? Are we talking about violence against Women Human Rights Defenders? Whatever it is, if the policy document does not name the problem, its intention to solve it can hardly be taken seriously.

And what is the protection from violence by the state’s own officials? Harassment by enforcement department, police?

3.1.6 Repeats the point about training and can be merged.

3.1.7 means nothing in a policy document. The question is not what the policy wants someone else to do but what the state will do.

This is a very antiseptic, apolitical list of political measures. One reads it thinking that the drafting committee does not think politics matters—when in policy, it is everything.

I would like to suggest a very feasible step that I would like Tamil Nadu to pioneer: An all-party agreement of TN parties that they will not give tickets to those:

  1. Charge-sheeted for gender-based violence
  2. Guilty of misogynistic speech

I link the Prajnya Gender Equality Election Checklist for your reference.


I reiterate: I do not think the state government has any business or authority to be telling me how to feel. The points under this are all related to mental health and may perfectly logically be integrated with the health section. 4.3 can go under education.

General Support: No comments

Monitoring, Research and Evaluation          I would be greatly obliged if the proposed High Level Women Empowerment Committee would restore the missing apostrophe to Women’s Empowerment. Having said that, where is the provision that at least half if not the majority of members will be women or at least, not men. We will again end up with a mostly male panel of bureaucrats making policy for men.

In conclusion, I want to say that while I applaud the idea, the initiative and all the work that has gone into this policy draft, I am deeply disappointed that the state of Periyar and Ambedkar, of vibrant social movements and so many bright writers and intellectuals could only come up with such a draft.

The draft policy favours the vague over the focused, pleasing all ‘stakeholders’ over actually telling us what the state will prioritise, what its concrete goals are and how it might get there.

Corona Challengers: volunteer chefs


The second wave of COVID has not only seen a surge of cases but also a surge in the humanitarian support that is coming in from across the globe. In Chennai, for example, there’s been a spurt in the number of people offering to cook for COVID patients. Many of them are recuperating at home and are struggling to have good nutritious food.

We present a snippet of some women who from little known cooks have now become Annapoornis (Goddess of nourishment) for COVID patients in Chennai.

Passion turns to purpose
Rama Parthasarthy discovered her love for cooking much before she became a teenager. But it wasn’t until the outbreak of the pandemic last year that Rama’s culinary delights started making its entry into Chennai homes.  

Rama’s daughter-in-law, Shivakrupa Rajaram, who helps her in this venture, told The Better India.

“We saw what the virus was doing to people, and we decided to start making nutritious meals for those who needed it. The meals are what we eat ourselves at home, comprising of rasamsambar, vegetable and rice,” she says.

Initially Ramaa’s Kitchen catered to people in and around Mylapore but as word began to spread they started delivering to other areas as well. On an average, Ramaa’s Kitchen provides 20 lunch orders and about 8 dinner orders every day.

Drawing from one’s experiences

For people like Divya Keswani, the decision to start cooking for COVID patients stemmed from her family’s own experience of dealing with COVID. Last year, when her family contracted COVID, they were fortunate to have a strong support system in the form of extended family and friends who took care of them. So, when they began to hear about people struggling to meet nutritional requirements while in isolation, in this second wave, they decided to do their bit. Divya, along with her mother-in-law and father-in-law began providing home-cooked meals for COVID patients, often adding into the food hamper some healthy snacks.  

Similarly, Deshna Krupa, too, put out a message on Twitter to offer food for COVID patients. Ten members of their 14-member family had tested positive for COVID last year. Given the spike in cases this time around, she and her mother Ahalya decided to help by providing home-cooked food for COVID patients who are under home isolation.

Having herself recovered from COVID, Jayalakshmi Sundaresan, a costume designer, understands the importance of consuming nutritious food and that’s why she decided to do the same for others. She and her mother, Kalavathy Sundaresan, have so far provided home-cooked food for around 30 people. Their menu includes watermelon juice, salad, fruits, and pappadam.

Pooling in

But given that these are all initiatives, offered free and with limited human resources, the women are also only able to commit to a certain number of orders in a day. Like Neeta Jessani, an interior designer and baker, who along with her mother, limits the orders to 10 people at a time. The mother-daughter duo sends food for those individuals who live alone or those who have “exhausted their resources” or “can’t afford buying food from outside” and therefore are unable to afford nutritious meals.

A speech pathology student, Deepika Venkatachalam started the #CookforCovid initiative with a simple post offering to provide food for ‘home alone’ quarantined people. The initiative has built a community of 150 volunteers who prepare food and 70 of them who deliver it.

Inspired by her friend Harshni Sreedhar, who was cooking for COVID patients, Deepthi Tanikella too decided to join in and started Meals for Madras. But soon they realised they needed a mechanism to anchor this increasingly growing number of volunteers who wanted to provide food for those affected by COVID and recuperating at home. In stepped in, Srinidy Ravichandran who developed a glide app through which those looking for home-cooked meals can find a cook and those wanting to cook a meal can offer their service.

‘Mission Upkhar’ was started by Abinaya Karthick to provide meals to underprivileged patients. From the central kitchen in Villivakkam, the staff prepares and delivers all three meals, health malts, kabasura kudineer and kashayam to patients.

Apart from COVID patients, Janaki Kanya Rajesh, another volunteer in the city, has been delivering meals for elderly couples who have tested positive and are unable to cook for themselves.

Quietly and diligently from their humble abodes, unflinched by the sweltering Chennai summer, a steady stream of volunteers are cooking and serving COVID patients with the recipe to good health – nutritious home-cooked meals garnished with love and compassion.

Bad guys don’t harm good girls. #myth


Among the many ridiculous theories patriarchy spins as a disguise for its sanction of male entitlement and violence, is the idea that if girls are good, or in Mr. Kamalahaasan’s words ‘dignified’ and ‘confident,’ men will not harm them. The more old-fashioned version of this is the judgment expressed by luminaries in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape that had the victim prayed or had she addressed the assailants as brother, they would have spared her. There are more things wrong with this thinking than I can digress to point out this morning.

What brings on this observation (and blogpost)? These two tweets: one by @angrybirdu with an old video clip featuring Mr. Kamalahaasan’s views and one by the man himself, as recently as last Saturday.

When celebrities say stupid things about sundry topics, it does not matter. But when their utterances trivialise a deep-rooted systemic problem that has horrendous consequences for people’s lives, it matters because people pay attention to their words and in societies with strong fan cultures, they take those words as gospel. When such a celebrity has also entered the public, political domain, claiming to want to make a change, one must ask: What sort of change? Ending corruption alone is a superficial, even cosmetic, change in a society rife with inequality and discrimination. Just quoting Periyar and Ambedkar without understanding that equality must mean gender equality is, in fact, an actor spouting lines written for a role.

With State Assembly elections imminent, and Mr. Kamalahaasan’s party making a serious bid to contest, we must consider his impact on the election discourse and on the election results. If politicians do not care about gender equality and are happy to wear their misogyny on their sleeve as a marker of masculinity, remember they are a subset of the electorate which does not care and is happy to vote for them regardless.

When and how do we change this? Can we seek a commitment from political parties–understanding that it will be expedient and insincere–to at least make a token endorsement of the recommendations in the Prajnya Gender Equality Election Checklist?

As for voters: Change begins with us. Let us quickly mount the pressure on political parties as they start to prepare nomination lists and manifestos for upcoming elections. Show that you care, and signing this petition is one way to do that.

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பெய்ஜிங் செயல்பாட்டு தளத்தின் இருபத்தி ஐந்தாம் வருடம் நிறைவினை கொண்டாடும் விதமாக நடத்தப்பட்ட ‘கண்ணோட்டம்’ கட்டுரை போட்டியில் கலந்து கொண்டு பரிசு பெற்ற விஜயகுமார் விவேக்காவின் கட்டுரை இது.

#Beijing25 || கண்ணோட்டம்: ர. மேனு , பெண்களின் வறுமைக்கான கட்டமைப்பு வேர்கள்


பெண்களின் வறுமைக்கான கட்டமைப்பு வேர்கள்

~ ர.மேனு

        இன்றைய காலக்கட்டத்தில் கொடிய நோயினால் இறப்போரை விட அதிகமாக வறுமையினாலேயே  இறக்கின்றனர். வறுமை எனும் மாபெரும்  கொடிய நோயினால் பாதிக்கப்படுவது அதிகமாக அபிவிருத்தி  அடைந்து வரும் நாடுகளிலேயே .வறுமை  என்பது அடிப்படை தேவைகளான “உணவு, நீர், உறையுள், கல்வி, சுகாதாரம் மற்றும்  முறையான கழிவகற்றும் வசதிகள் ” என்பன பூரணமாக பூர்த்தி செய்யப்படவில்லை என்றால் வறுமை என்றும் மற்றும் “நாளாந்த வருமானம் $ 1.25 விட கீழ் நிலையில் இருந்தால் வறுமை”  எனவும் வறுமைக்கு பல வரைவிலக்கணம் கொடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. மற்றும் அக்டோபர் 17 ஆம் திகதி உலக வறுமை ஒழிப்பு தினமாக ஐ.நா சபையினால் பிரகடனம் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது .

         1950,1960 காலக்கட்டத்தில் “பசுமைப்புரட்சி “ஏற்பட்டது. உலக நாடுகளில் ஏற்பட்ட வறுமை சூழ்நிலையினை குறைப்பதற்காகவே இந்த பசுமைப்புரட்சி ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்டது. ஆனால் பசுமைப்புரட்சியின் விளைவினாலே இன்று வறுமை சூழல் நிலவிவருகிறது. காரணம் உலகம் முழுவதும் உலகமயமாக்கப்பட்டு வருகிறது .  நவீனமயமாக்கப்பட்டமையால் தேவைகள் அதிகரித்து வருகிறது. மற்றும் அளவுக்கு அதிகமான வளங்களை பயன்படுத்தி வருகின்றனர். மற்றும் உற்பத்தி செய்யப்படும் பொருட்கள் உள்நாட்டுப் பாவனையாளர்களுக்கு கிடைப்பதில்லை. அவை முழுமையாக   ஏற்றுமதி செய்யப்படுகின்றன. இந்த காரணங்களினாலேயே உள்நாட்டில் வறுமை ஏற்படுகிறது.  அந்த வகையில் நான் வாழும் இலங்கை நாட்டில் வடக்கு ,கிழக்கு மாகாணங்களில் மற்றும் பொலனறுவை மாவட்டத்தின் சில இடங்களிலும் அதிகமாக வறுமையினால் பாதிப்புகள் ஏற்பட்டுள்ளன. மற்றும் கிராமபுறங்களிலும், நகர்ப்புற சேரிகளிலும் வாழ்கின்ற மக்கள்  வறுமையின் உச்சக்கட்டத்தில் காணப்படுகிறார்கள். அத்துடன் பசி ,பட்டினியால் தினம் தினம் இறக்கின்றார்கள்.

        வறுமை அடித்தளத்தில் பெண்களின் மீதே தாக்கத்தை செலுத்துகிறது .எடுத்துக்காட்டாக இயற்கை அனர்த்தம், வீதி விபத்தில் கணவனை இழந்தோர் ,கணவனால் கைவிடப்பட்டவர்கள், விவாகரத்து பெற்றவர்கள் ,மற்றும் யுத்தத்தினால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டு கணவனை இழந்த பெண்களின் குடும்பத்தில் பெண்களே தமது குடும்பத்தை தலைமை தாங்குகின்றார்கள். இந்த சூழ்நிலையில் வறுமை  பெரிதும் தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்துகிறது. இலங்கையில் உள்நாட்டுப் போரால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டு கணவனை இழந்த பெண்கள், ஊனமுற்றவர்கள் உள்ள குடும்பங்கள், காணாமல் ஆக்கப்பட்டவர்களின் குடும்பங்களில் வறுமை கோரத்தாண்டவம் ஆடுகின்றது.

       வேலையின்மை பிரச்சினையும் வறுமைக்கு முக்கிய காரணம். வேலைவாய்ப்புக்கள் இல்லாத காரணத்தால் வாழ்வாதாரம் தாழ்வு நிலையில் இருக்கிறது. இவ்வேலையின்மை காரணத்தால் வறுமையினைப் போக்குவதற்காக பெண்கள் “வீட்டுவேலைத் தொழிலாளர்களாக” வெளிநாடுகளுக்கு வேலைக்கு செல்கின்றார்கள்.  உதாரணமாக மத்திய கிழக்கு நாடுகள். இவர்கள் வீட்டுத்வேலைத் தொழிலுக்கு செல்வதால் பல்வேறு சவால்களுக்கு முகம் கொடுக்க வேண்டி உள்ளது. சமூகரீதியில் பல்வேறு இன்னல்கள், குடும்பங்கள் இடையே பிணக்குகள், பிள்ளைகள் ஆதரவற்றுப்போதல், கணவர் மறுமணம் செய்தல் என பல பிரச்சினைகளை எதிர்கொள்கின்றனர். அதுமட்டுமின்றி அவர்கள் வேலை செய்யும் இடங்களில் பாலியல் வன்கொடுமை, சம்பளம் முறையாகக் கொடுக்காமை, அதிக நேரம் வேலை செய்ய வேண்டிய கட்டாயம், அடிமையாக நடத்துதல் என்று இவர்கள் உடல், உளரீதியான பிரச்சினைகளை அனுபவிக்கின்றார்கள். பெண்கள் இவ்வாறான சவால்களை எதிர்கொள்ள முக்கிய காரணம் வறுமை. இது தாக்கம் செலுத்தாவிடில் பெண்கள் இவ்வாறான வன்முறைக்கு முகம் கொடுக்க வேண்டியிருக்காது.

          பெண் தலைமை தாங்கும் குடும்பங்களில் வாழ்வாதாரம் குறைவாகவே காணப்படும். பெண்களுக்கான முறையான வேலைவாய்ப்பு இல்லை. இவர்கள் கூலி வேலை செய்வார்கள் எனின்  ஆண்களை விட குறைவாகவே  ஊதியம் கூறுகின்றார்கள். ஏனென்றால் ஆண்களை விட பெண்கள் வலிமை குறைந்தவர்களாம். மற்றும் ஆணுக்கு நிகராக பெண் வேலை செய்ய முடியாதாம் என ஆணாதிக்க சமூகத்தின் கூற்றுக்கு இணங்க குறைவான சம்பளம் பெறுகின்றனர். அதற்கேற்றவாறு அத்தியாவசிய பொருள்களின் விலை உயர்ந்து கொண்டே போகிறது. இதனை வேண்டி உண்பதற்கு பணம் இல்லாத காரணத்தால் பசியும் பட்டினியுடனும் இருக்க வேண்டியநிலை ஏற்படுகிறது.

       இதற்கு சிறந்த எடுத்துக்காட்டு நாம் இன்று வரை எதிர்கொள்கின்ற மாபெரும் பிரச்சினை “COVID 19″எனும் வைரசின்  இன் தாக்கம். இவ் நோயினால் இறப்பவர்களோடு, வறுமையினாலும் மக்கள் தினம் தினம் செத்துக்கொண்டு இருக்கிறார்கள். ஊரடங்கு உத்தரவு காரணமாக ஊர்கள் முடக்கப்பட்டிருந்த நிலையில் அனைவரும் வீடுகளில் முடங்கிக் கிடந்தார்கள், உண்பதற்கு உணவு இல்லாமல், குடிக்க தண்ணீர்கூட இல்லாமல், வேண்டி உண்பதற்கு பணம் இல்லாமல் அத்தோடு விலைவாசியும் வானைத் தொடும் அளவிற்கு உயர்ந்து கொண்டே போனது. பணம் உள்ளவர்கள் கொரோணா விடுமுறையை சந்தோசமாக  கொண்டாடினார்கள். ஆனால் பணம் இல்லாதவர்கள் உண்ண உணவு இல்லாமல் தினம் தினம் திண்டாடினர்கள்.

         வறுமையும் நமது சமூகம் போன்று எண்ணத்தைக்கொண்டுள்ளது. ஏனென்றால் அதுவும் தனது உக்கிரத்தனத்தினை தாழ்த்தப்பட்டவர்கள் மீதே காட்டுகிறது. தாழ்த்தப்பட்டவர்கள் சமூகத்தில் வாழக்கூடாது என்று சமூகம் நினைப்பதை போலவே வறுமையும் தாழ்த்தப்பட்டவர்களை அளழிக்கின்றது. கல்வி அறிவும் வறுமைக்கான காரணங்களில் செல்வாக்கு செலுத்துகின்றது. பெண்களுக்கு முழுமையாக கல்வி கற்கும் உரிமையினை கொடுக்கவில்லை. பெண்கள், ஆணாதிக்க கட்டமைப்பின் கட்டுப்பாட்டில் வாழ்ந்து வருகின்றனர். திருமணத்திற்கு பின் கணவனால் பாலியல் ரீதியான வன்முறைகள் செய்யப்படுகின்றது. அதிக குழந்தைகளை பெற்றெடுக்கிறார்கள். ஆனால் அக் குழந்தைகளை வளர்க்க முடியாமல் போகின்றது. ஏனென்றால் வறுமையினால் போதுமான வசதி வாய்ப்புகள் இல்லை.

    இஸ்லாம் மதத்தினை காரணமாக காட்டி பல தார திருமணம் செய்கின்றார்கள். பின்னர் மனைவிமார்களை சமமாக வைத்துப் பார்க்க முடியவில்லை என்று அவர்களை விட்டு விலகிக் செல்கிறார்கள். இதனால் அந்த பெண்ணும் குழந்தைகளும் ஆதரவற்ற நிலையில் நடுத்தெருவில் நிற்க வேண்டிய நிலை ஏற்படுகிறது. இந்த சூழ்நிலையில் இவர்களால் வாழ்வாதாரத்தை பெற முடியாமல் வறுமையினால் பட்டினி கிடக்க வேண்டிய நிலைமை. அதுமட்டுமின்றி கணவன் குடிகாரனாக இருந்தால் அந்த குடும்பங்கள் மிகவும் மோசமான நிலையில் இருக்கும். அதை வார்த்தைகளால் சொல்லவே தேவையில்லை. பெண்களுக்கே குடும்பத்தினரை பராமரிக்கும் பொறுப்பு இருக்கின்றமையால் வீட்டில் கிடைக்கும்குறைந்தளவானஉணவினை பகிர்ந்து கொடுத்து விட்டு எஞ்சியுள்ளதை உண்பாள். இதனால் பல்வேறு ஊட்டச்சத்து குறைபாடு நோய்களுக்கு உள்ளாகின்றார்கள். இவ்வாறு பல காரணங்களினால் பெண்கள் வறுமையின் அடிப்படை கட்டமைப்பில் பெரிதும் பாதிக்கப்படுகிறார்கள்.


#Beijing25 || கண்ணோட்டம்: எஸ். சுப்புலக்ஷ்மி, பெண்களின் வறுமைக்கான கட்டமைப்பு வேர்கள்


பெண்களின் வறுமைக்கான 
கட்டமைப்பு வேர்கள்

—எஸ். சுப்புலக்ஷ்மி

 மங்கையராய் பிறப்பதற்கே நல்ல மாதவம் செய்திட வேண்டுமம்மா ”  இந்த வார்த்தைகள் செவிக்கு இனிதாய் இருந்தாலும் இயல்பு வாழ்க்கையில் பொருந்தாத ஒன்று. பெரும்பாலன பெண்கள் இந்த மாதவத்தை விரும்புவதில்லை, அதற்கு பல காரணங்கள் இருந்தாலும் வறுமை முக்கிய காரணம். ஒரு குடும்பம் செழித்திருந்தாலும் பெண் தான் அனுபவிக்கிறாள் , ஒரு குடும்பம் வறுமையால் வாடினாலும் அதை பெண்தான் அனுபவிக்கிறாள்.  ஒரு பெண் வறுமையில் சுழல்கிறாள் என்றால் அதன் வேர்களை நாம் பார்ப்பதில்லை, வெளிப்புறத்திலிருந்து பார்த்துவிட்டு கொஞ்சம் பரிதாப அலையயை வீசிவிட்டு நகர்ந்து போகிறவர்கள்தான் அதிகம். அவள் ஏன் வறுமையில் இருக்கிறாள் அதை எவ்வாறு ஒழிப்பது என்று யாரும் இறங்குவதில்லை. அவளுக்கு சிறிது உணவோ உடையோ வாங்கி குடுத்துவிட்டு பெருமிதத்துடன் உலகம் நகர்கிறது, இன்று உதவி செய்யலாம் , உணவும் உடையும் தற்காலிகமானதே, நாளைக்கு அவள் என்ன செய்வாள் என்று மனம் பதைபதைக்கும்  போதுதான் தெளிவு பிறக்கும்.

எனக்கு தெரிந்த எவ்வளோவோ பெண்கள் வறுமையில் பிறந்து வறுமையாலேயே இறந்திருக்கிறார்கள், கணவன் குடிகாரனாக அமைந்து விட்டால் இன்னும் கொடுமை. எவ்வளோவோ திறமை தனக்குள்ளிருந்தும் தன கணவனின் சொல் கேட்டு அடங்கி போகிறாள். ஆணாதிக்கம் மிக்க  சமுதாயத்தில் அவளை வேளைக்கு செல்லவும் அனுமதிப்பதில்லை ” பொட்டச்சி சம்பாரிச்சுதான் இந்த குடும்பம் நடக்கணுமா ” என்ற வீண் மண்டை கனம்.  வறுமையான குடும்பத்தில் பிறக்கும் பெண் வறுமைக்கு பயந்து ஒடுங்கி மறுபடியும் வறுமைக்கே பலியாகிறாள், ஏன் அந்த குடும்பத்தில் வறுமை என்று யோசிக்கிறோமா , அப்படி யோசிப்பவர்கள் மிகவும் குறைவு , உதவி செய்ய விழைகிறவர்கள் கூட தற்காலிக உதவிதான்

செய்கிறார்களே தவிர வறுமையை வேரோடு பிடுங்கி எரிய மறுக்கிறார்கள்,  ஒரு இள வயது பெண் வறுமையில் வாடினால் அவளுக்கு படிப்பிற்கு உதவி செய்யுங்கள் , படிப்பு அவளை வறுமையிலிருந்து மீட்டெடுக்கும், படிப்பின் சுவையை அவள் உணரட்டும், அவள் படிப்பு முடியும் வரை அவள் உணவிற்கும் உதவுங்கள், ஆரோக்யமான பெண்ணால் வலிமையான எதிர்காலத்தை உருவாக்க முடியும்.

வறுமை ஏன் தொடர்ந்து கொண்டே இருக்கிறது பெண்கள் மத்தியில் ? யோசித்தோமா , இதற்கு தீர்வு இளைய சமுதாயத்தினரை தேர்ந்தெடுங்கள் , வறுமையை பற்றி பேசி கொண்டே இருக்க கூடாது என்று அறிவுறுத்துங்கள் , எண்ணங்களை மாற்றுங்கள், உறுதியாக பெண்ணினம் சக்தி பெறும்.

பெண்கள் தினத்தன்று மட்டும் கொண்டாடப்பட வேண்டியவள் அல்ல பெண், அன்றாடம் போற்றப்பட வேண்டியவள். நுனிபுல்லாக பெண்களின் வறுமையை பார்க்காமல் ஆழமாக பார்த்து அந்த வேர்களை பிடுங்கி எறிவோம் , செழிப்பான சமுதாயத்தை உருவாக்குவோம் !

வறுமையிலும் நம் தங்கைகள் சிறப்பான மதிப்பெண் எடுக்கிறார்கள், பஞ்சு மெத்தையில் படுத்து சொகுசு வாழ்க்கையில் படித்த பெண்களை விட அதிக மதிப்பெண் எடுக்கிறார்கள் , ஆனால் அதற்கு பின் அவர்களின் வாழ்க்கை எங்கே போகிறது ? அறிவோமா என்றால் இல்லை என்ற பதிலே பொருந்தும்.  ஊடகங்களும் அவர்களை காட்சி பொருளாக்கி , வறுமையான வீட்டையும் , நலிந்த பெற்றோர்களையும் காட்டி நம்மளை வை பிளக்க வைக்கின்றன . அதோடு அந்த செய்தி முடிந்துவிடும் அதை பார்த்து சிலர் உதவுவார்கள் , படிப்பு செலவை நானே ஏற்கிறேன் , அவள் படித்து முடித்துவிட்டால் வறுமை ஒழிவது உறுதி அண்ணல் படித்து முடிக்கணுமே , உதவ முன் வருபவர்கள் படிப்புக்கு உதவுவார்கள் அவளின் மூன்று வேலை உணவுக்கு யார் உதவுவார்கள், குடிகார தந்தை தாய் ஈட்டும் சிறிது பணத்தையும் பறித்து விடுகிறான், ஒரு கட்டத்தில் உடல் நிலை சரியில்லாமல் படுத்து விடுகிறான் , கூட பிறந்தவர்களை யார் கவனிப்பது, தந்தையின் மருத்துவ செலவுக்கு என்ன செய்வது, இப்படி பட்ட சூழ்நிலையில் ஒரு பெண்ணால் மனது ஒன்றி எப்படி படிப்பை தொடர முடியும், தாய்க்கு துணையாக தானும் வேளைக்கு செல்ல முடிவெடுக்கிறாள் , இப்படித்தான் செல்கிறது இள வயது வறுமை. அன்றே அவ்வை சொன்னாள் ” கொடிது கொடிது வறுமை கொடிது , அதனிலும் கொடிது இளமையில் வறுமை” பல பெண்கள் அதை தான் அனுபவித்து வருகிறார்கள். வறுமையின் வேர்களை அறுக்க வேண்டுமென்றால் விசாலமான பார்வை தேவை, தற்காலிக உதவிகள் செய்வதை விடுத்து ஆழமான உதவிகளை செய்து பெண்களின் வாழ்வாதாரத்தை உயர்த்தி வறுமையை வேரறுப்போம்.

“மாதர் தம்மை இழிவு செய்யும் மடமையை கொளுத்துவோம்”  எத்துணை பேர் இதை சரி என்பார்கள், மேடை பேச்சுக்கும் , பெருமை பேச்சுக்கும் இது சரி வருமே தவிர நடைமுறை வாழ்க்கையில் முடியாத ஒன்று, பெண்கள் சந்திக்கும் பிரச்சினைகள் தான் எவ்வளவு , சரி வீட்டில் வறுமை வெளியே வந்து சம்பாதித்து குடும்பத்தை உயர்த்தலாம் என்றால் இந்த சமுதாயம் அவளை புரட்டி போடுகிறது , பல சோதனைகளை அவள் சந்திக்க நேரிடுகிறது, அவமான படுத்த படுகிறாள் , அவளின் பலவீனத்தை , அன்பான உள்ளத்தை கூறு போடுகிறது, இத்தனையும் தாண்டி அவள் முன்னேறுகிறாள் என்றால் பாரதி கனவு கண்ட புதுமை பெண் அவள்தான், கொடுமை என்னவென்றால் அந்த புதுமை பெண்கள் அடிக்கடி பூப்பதில்லை.  வேறு வழி இல்லாமல் கிடைக்கும் கூலி வேலையை செய்து கொண்டு மறுபடியும் அதே வறுமை, இப்படி சொல்லி கொண்டே போகலாம். வறுமை அரக்கனை பெண்களின் பாதையிலிருந்து நசுக்கி விட்டால் வளமான அழகான உலகம் அமைவது உறுதி.

#Beijing25 || Viewpoint: Pramila, the structural roots of women’s poverty


The winner of Viewpoint, an essay contest to commemorate 25 years of Beijing Platform for Action, was this essay by Berneth Pramila

Poverty can be understood as scarcity of money. A woman’s poverty is a state when she cannot afford to earn money for livelihood. The structural roots leading to such a status can be unemployment which leads us to uneducated or under-educated women. This maybe followed by early marriage of girls, several child births, unequal treatment by the husband and his family in financial decisions, threat and harassment regarding her employment at the workplace, pay gaps, inequality of representation in decision making boards, committees, institutions, and even in parliament.

The socio-economic-political, religious, and cultural beliefs, norms and sanctions that are predominantly developed and maintained by the male population play a key role in sustaining women in the poverty state. A girl child is treated secondary and ignored against the male child in all aspects including nutrition, education, and property rights. She is rarely introduced to reasoning, thinking, decision-making, and qualities that will groom her into a potential, capable, and independent human being; especially economic independence is almost never taught or developed in the girl child. She is thus always a dependent on others at all stages of her life.

Even though culturally and religiously a woman still faces the threat of poverty, nowadays there are many changes taking place in socio-economic and political arenas due to globalisation. Education is the key factor for women’s employment and self-awareness. Technological progress and its availability also have created tremendous awareness in women about other pioneering women that are independent, prosperous, and self-deciding.

Realization and acknowledging by families, particularly by men, that women are equals and partners by birth and in life, might bring about much more development and progress in alleviating and chopping off these structural roots of women’s poverty. The government and policy makers need to play a pivotal role in introducing and implementing programs and laws that bring about awareness, upliftment, and societal change in the status of women. This also will have a much broader reach for women in remote and tribal areas.

#Beijing25 || Viewpoint: SAMYUKTHA, Gender-based Violence and Social Inequality



Even during the neanderthal era, humans knew no bounds to inequality. Women had their roles and men had theirs. But as us humans started to evolve and take over the planet as our own, we started to think way beyond what was logical that we are illiterate compared to any other animals.

All living beings irrespective of their genders have a role in the planet. May it be as immaterial and insignificant as it may seem, everyone is linked in our world and we impact each other in several ways possible.

When these roles were amplified and exaggerated by the evolved race of humans, that’s where the term of inequality was brought in. Certain functions were labelled to genders and races. Caste system was brought in and a lot of injustice prevailed.

In our society, women have prefixed roles to play in their homes and the society. They are meant to stay at homes and take care. Their purpose is fixed to giving the maternal care that all their tender bodies can give.

Now the world has grown again where after centuries, women have voiced out their will and have gotten a platform where they can choose to work or stay at home for their families. That’s where we are standing right now and nowhere else.

Women are still restricted from a lot of activities that men have the privilege to. In India and many other countries, the roles for women are justified with an excuse of culture. Ask the patriarchal world what culture is, no one knows.

The female genital oragans are viewed as pieces of mockery and sex jokes whereas “having the balls” to do things are just acceptable. Women in India, right now are being beaten by their husbands or being burnt or thrown acid on their faces. They don’t stand up for themselves because they know that not all in the society will stand with their guts. They have nowhere to go to and hence, they settle to keep their necks bent and faces bruised.

There are a lot of NGOs in India where their locations are kept anonymous in fear of attacks.

Women may not be masculine like men, so are men not feminine like women. All genders have their purpose in society and we as humans have been blessed with morals ethics and intelligence to gauge what’s wrong and what’s right.women have been proven to be excellent leaders as well as caretakers. Men too have been identified with various qualities. No talent or voice is restricted to one’s body or gender. It’s high time that we realise the need to let all genders prevail equally in society so that our nation and the world becomes a place that our future grows up respecting and learning from.

#Beijing25 || Viewpoint: George, Gender-based Violence and Social Inequality


By Angelin Anna George

Earth contains millions of animal species and they are all present in two types, a male and a female. This distinction is based on the biological differences and the category of distinction is the sex of the animal. So what is gender then? Gender is a social construct which was created to define man and woman. Women all over the world have experienced oppression because according to this social construct women were supposed to be meek and submissive; thus making them easy targets for oppression.

The asymmetrical relation between the two genders has always been cited as a reason for the inequality experienced. According to this asymmetric relationship, women are considered as the secondary or other sex that is weak and incapable of being productive; while men are considered as the superior and productive sex. Years of suppression of the female sex has had drastic effects on the society as a whole. Sometimes, women limit themselves because of the ideals that have been driven into their minds over the years. In other cases, men limit women to a life inside the house because their faulty education taught them to blindly follow the patriarchal norms. Basically, the social construct of gender has embedded itself deep in the minds of most people. This leads to problems such as social inequality amongst men and women. Individuals who still view women as the weaker sex believe that they cannot handle professional jobs and discriminate against any female who is striving to make a different life for her.

People all around the world are always striving to matter and to assert their dominance at some point in life. Often, the safest place that men can assert their dominance without having their masculinity questioned with resistance is at home with their wife. This is the cause for most cases of gender based violence. Most women do not stand up for themselves because of the norms and values that they are taught as a child. The problem lies in the fact that these values and norms were taught by a patriarchal society that did not value women. Therefore, these women believe that they are only suited for such a life wherein they have to blindly serve their husband.  Domestic violence as a form of abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious and sexual abuse. It ranges from subtly demeaning woman to brutal assaults such as marital rape. Gender based violence can also been seen in the way women are treated by unknown men in the society, for example, most women have experienced the gaze and lewd comments of strange men.  

In conclusion, the female sex has had to deal with years of oppression and in fact, they are still dealing with inequalities in all phases of their life. Yet, this oppression is currently not as bad as our ancestors have had to face. Since most women have gained resilience and strength from the hurdles they have had to overcome in life, they are able to slowly end change this misogynistic attitude of the society. Even though it is a very slow process, it has resulted in a lot of good. Most firms and government sectors have hard and fast rules about the minimum number of women employees, and violence against women have been deemed as a criminal offence. Therefore, women as a whole have started to fight against this oppression and stand up together for their right to live their life.

#Beijing25 || Viewpoint: Sofia, COVID-19 IMPACT ON GENDER EQUALITY


By Sofia G

Corona is a pandemic disease which is being affected all over the world. Every corner of the world is suffering from corona. It is a communicable disease which can be spread through touching, breathing or sneezing. Currently many people are being affected by this,some people tend to die due to this disease. Today’s update is many people are getting cured through proper sanitisation and through proper health facilities. This pandemic has led to many issues, of which one of the issues can be discussed as the impact on Gender equality. People try to differentiate the genders while giving treatment.

Lockdowns are being announced to prevent the spread of corona whereas many womens are being trapped at home with abusers. Many men try to abuse their own family members like their own children. Even though there are many advantages in this lockdown like spending time with their family, playing indoor games, children tend to share their own feelings to their parents and so on. Many families are being united in this process of lockdown.

In this Pandemic Scientists are trying to find the vaccine and it is very important that the medical research should not be Gender blind. Clinical traits must include Gender-balanced representation of women to examine how the vaccine might affect women and men differently. Even though women are given opportunities and are being recognised as Engineers, collectors and Doctors, they are not identified or well represented among Senior Doctors, Engineers or Collectors. Only a few are recognised under compulsion.

Gender stereotypes and socioeconomic inequalities continue to impact on use of preventative and curative health services.The Gender differentiation can be stopped through various methods. There are some sections under which abused women can report it and the abuser is being punished for it.
Helplines are also available to save women for example: 1091,WAVE(Women against violence europe).

The increase of the representation of women in health governance,Decision-making and certain occupations could help to ensure that women are also having the opportunities to shape their importance.

To conclude my point Gender equality can be stopped and make women feel comfortable. Still there are some ways to sort out the uncomfortableness or safety of women all over the world. Therefore, this small changes are being expected to push social norms towards greater gender equality in providing some facilities where the women are safe all over the world.