‘India stands ready to work with international community for empowerment of rural women’

PTI United Nations | Updated on November 14, 2017

India has expressed its readiness to work with the international community to promote gender equality and empowerment of women in rural areas for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth.

Addressing the 56th session of the ‘Commission on the Status of Women’ currently underway here, Secretary in India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ms Neela Gangadharan, said India is “meticulously” pursuing the Millennium Development Goals to ensure holistic empowerment of rural women.

“India stands ready to work with the international community for the empowerment of rural women for inclusive and sustainable growth and for engaging young women and men, girls and boys, to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment both within and outside UN,” Ms Gangadharan, who is leading the Indian delegation, said.

She said India has focussed on inclusive growth and access to opportunities to both rural and urban women.

“Skill development and skill upgradation of rural and marginalised women are priorities for us,” she said, adding that skills training in emerging sectors and entrepreneurship development programmes are being run not only for rural women but also for adolescent girls.

According to India’s latest census conducted in 2011, an estimated 405 million women live in rural areas, constituting 69 per cent of the total women population of the country.

Nearly 81 per cent of rural women workers are engaged in agriculture as labourers and cultivators, Ms Gangadharan said, adding that contribution of rural women to India’s GDP growth and poverty reduction has been a key guiding factor in framing the Government’s policies.

She also outlined various schemes and policies, such as the National Rural Livelihood Mission, National Credit Fund for Women and the scheme of Promotion and Strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation for Women, implemented by the Indian Government to improve the economic conditions of rural women.

She said women’s self-help groups in India have become a very important vehicle for economic empowerment. Currently there are around six million self-help groups in the country of which 80 per cent are women’s groups, covering over 97 million beneficiaries.

The Government is also ensuring that the various schemes being implemented are sensitive to working conditions of women workers, including by providing accessible worksite, creche facilities for women with children below six and gender parity of wages.

Ms Gangadharan also spoke about measures that have been implemented to address the problem of trafficking, violence against women and ensuring a safe and secure environment at the work place.

She added that female literacy, nutrition, childhood care and sanitation are priority areas for the Indian Government.

Published on March 01, 2012

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