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    18th Dec, 2019

Beijing Platform for Action (1995), and since;

  • Beijing Declaration 1995 was ratified by 189 governments, each committing itself to a world where women and girls could exercise freedoms and choices, including a life free of violence, rights to go to school, participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work.
  • In the years since, definitions of “gender" has expanded to include not just women and girls, but Trans, non-binary, and intersex people.

Gender gains

  • Gains in education and health: Gender gains have been undeniable in areas such as education and health.
    • According to the World Bank, Global primary school completion rates are 91% for boys and 90% for girls, and in secondary school, 76% for boys and 77% for girls.
    • Female life expectancy worldwide has increased from 70 in 2000, to 74 in 2017.
    • All India Survey on Higher Education reports female college enrolment in India, at 48.6% in 2018, up from 47.6% the previous year.
  • New laws, including India’s domestic violence and workplace sexual harassment laws, have been passed.

Situation is still grim

  • Rise in crimes: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show a 6% rise in crimes against women in 2017. Laws and policies have not kept up and there is need for a “mind-set change".
  • New challenges: Some old problems, such as unpaid work and low female labour force participation (FLFP) still continue. India’s FLFP, at 24%, is among the lowest in South Asia.
    • Along with older challenges of violence and low participation of women in public life, newer challenges have emerged, including cyber bullying, climate change and migration.
  • Current status: Globally, 7% of women have been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner and as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
    • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) suggests that 30% women in India in the age group of 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
    • NFHS-4 reveals that 6% women in the same age group have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.
    • About 31% of married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their spouses.
  • Status on rape and reporting: India’s average rate of reported rape cases is about 3 per 100,000 of the population. However, this differs in places like Sikkim and Delhi, which have rates of 30.3 and 22.5, respectively, while Tamil Nadu has a rate of less than one.
    • According to Livemint, about 99% cases of sexual violence go unreported due to social stigma surrounding such offences
  • Perpetuators are mostly related: NCRB 2016 recorded that majority of cases under crimes against women were reported in the following order; ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (32.6%) > ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (25.0%) > ‘Kidnaping & Abduction of Women’ (19.0%) > ‘Rape’ (11.5%).
    • Clearly, domestic violence is one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women in India.

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