This month marks yet another annual “16 Days of Activism” against gender-based violence. It is an opportunity for India to align its commitment to all women, their protection, and their empowerment, regardless of their legal status.
“16 Days of Activism”:
It is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1999.
It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
The global theme for this year is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.
It is a campaign by United Nations Secretary-General to End Violence against Women by 2030.
It is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world.
The Global scenario:
Global Increase in violence: The world is faced with a global increase in reported domestic violence, child marriage, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and abuse.
Events of Violence: The coup in Myanmar, a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have all occurred in the last 18 months.
The case of refugees:
Numbers: There are over 2,12,000 refugees in India including those supported by the Government of India, more than half of whom are women and girls.
Accessing protection services: India ensures that refugees can access protection services that are on par with their fellow Indian hosts.
Refugees registered directly by the Government:
Refugees registered directly by the Government, are entitled to Aadhaar cards and PAN cards to enable their economic and financial inclusion.
They can have access to national welfare schemes and contribute effectively to the Indian economy.
Refugees registered with UNHCR, e.g. Afghanistan:
They have access to protection and limited assistance services.
They do not possess government-issued documentation.
They are unable to open bank accounts.
Violence against Women:
The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life."
Violence against women is a social, economic, developmental, legal, educational, human right, and health (physical and mental) issue.
It is a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in women.
Violence against women occurs throughout the life cycle from pre-birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to old age.
Causes of violence against women:
Gender Disparity: is one of the deep-rooted causes of violence against women that put women at risk of several forms of violence.
Psychiatric Morbidity: It refers to the incidence of both physical and psychological deterioration as a result of a mental or psychological condition.
Sociodemographic factors: Patriarchy has been cited as the main cause of violence against women.
Family factors: Exposure to harsh physical discipline during childhood and witnessing the father beating the mother during childhood is a predictor of victimization and perpetration of violence against the wife in adulthood.
Health issues: Violence in any form affects not only the physical mental sexual and reproductive health of women but also adversely affects their self-esteem, and ability to work and make decisions about fertility.
Economic Issues: Violence against women can have a serious impact on the economy of the household as well as on the nation.
Development: Violence obstructs the participation of women in development and planning programs both at micro and macro levels.
Rights Issues: Any form of Violence against women hinders their realization of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 21, 19, and 32 of the Indian constitution.
Dearth of data and statistics
Accused are known persons
Women in India continue to make progress in all areas of human endeavors, including politics, science, business, medicine, sports, and agriculture.
India has the largest number of women in the United Nations peacekeeping forces.
Women have overcome “the glass ceiling” in the armed forces and can also serve as commanders since 2020.
The ‘Nari Shakti for New India’ campaign represents the aspirations of millions of women in India, who not only participate but lead development initiatives a clear display that women are leading from the front.