Union WCD Minister Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi released the draft National Policy for Women, 2016 today for stakeholder comments and consultations. Releasing the draft policy at a press conference in New Delhi, the Minister stated that the Policy is being revised after 15 years and is expeceted to guide Government action on Women’s issues over the next 15-20 years. The Minister stated that several things have changed since the last Policy of 2001 especially women’s attitude towards themselves and their expectations from life. She stated that in view of this the new draft Policy shifts the focus from entitlements to rights and from empowerment to creating an enabling environment. She has requested for widespread comments on the draft policy so that the final policy document can be a true reflection of the voice of all women.
The Salient features of the policy are as follows:
Nearly a decade and half has passed since the National Policy for Empowerment of Women, 2001 was formulated. Since then significant strides in global technology and information systems have placed the Indian economy on a trajectory of higher growth impacting the general populace and women in particular in unique and different ways. The discourse on women’s empowerment has been gradually evolving over the last few decades, wherein paradigm shifts have occurred –from seeing women as mere recipients of welfare benefits to mainstreaming gender concerns and engaging them in the development process of the country. These changes have brought forth fresh opportunities and possibilities for women’s empowerment while at the same time presenting new and emerging challenges which along with persisting socio-economic problems continue to hinder gender equality and holistic empowerment of women. The policy aims to create sustainable socio-economic, political empowerment of women to claim their rights and entitlements, control over resources and formulation of strategic choices in realisation of the principles of gender equality and justice.