Enlightening gender equality in India
Gender inequality is a difficult challenge for India, and it is unlikely to be solved merely by legislation. One of the most important factors to initiate gender equality in India, apart from Women’s safety is equal access to educational opportunities for females. The government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are making consistent efforts to ensure literacy and learning among females in India. Several governmental programs, with gender equality education as a key component, have been initiated since independence; the program of Social Education, including literacy, was introduced as part of the Community Development Program in 1952 (Nayar, 1960). Later, the Kothari Commission on Education (1964-1966) emphasized the importance of accelerated literacy growth.
The 1968 National Policy on Education, in addition to endorsing the recommendations of the Kothari Commission, also outlined the importance of development and implementation of adult and continuing educational programs as matters of priority (Bhargava, 2008). Under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, India developed National Literacy Mission (NLM) in 1988 with a focus on functional literacy includes life skills, skill development, and a general awareness of the rights of citizens and their environment, primarily for women, to strengthen literacy growth (ibid). In addition to the NLM, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was introduced by the Indian government, through the 86th Amendment to the Constitution of India, to facilitate free and requisite education for children 6 to 14 years of age. The academic endeavors of the SSA have extended to a subsidiary program called the Mahila Samakhya (Education for Women’s Equality). This program works in conjunction with individual state governments to be primarily focused on women’s education and empowerment for those women in rural areas, particularly women from socially and economically marginalized groups (Hay, 2012).
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The main aim of governmental and nongovernmental programs is primarily to focus on reducing gender inequality by providing equal educational opportunities for the Indian female population (Arora, 2012). On the other side to improve the employment opportunities for women, The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD; 2012) was created on September 26, 1985, to support gender equality through the 174th Amendment to the government of India. The MHRD, in addition to focusing on female education through their Department of School Education and Literacy, mainly focuses on providing flexible options for Indian women to participate in the workforce. MHRD set up a committee to improve the status of women by analyzing causes of gender inequality and identifying factors and delineate fundamentals to diminish gender inequality.
Organizations in India are also focusing more on training and skill development like effective communications, team dynamics, and technical knowledge for women workers, as it is considered an extension of academic learning, which is very valued in India (Rao, 2014). Being conscious of the need to embrace the increasing presence of women in the Indian workplace and creating a safe environment for them to grow professionally is currently an important issue across organizations in India. In India, state governments and NGOs have initiated important steps to facilitate gender equality in the informal sector. Various governments and NGOs also offer financial support to rural Indian women to encourage development of skills and knowledge to convert their skills into an income-generating opportunity.
In India, violence and gender inequality are the important issue, which are not hidden but prevailing in the society. The women of our society becomes mostly victim of it, because of the patriarchal society that has been established in India. After seventy years of independence, India becomes worse in terms of violence against the women. Newspapers and magazines are having the frontline story of violence in terms of rape, abduction, honor killings, and love jihad cases that downtrodden the image of the country in the global era. In most of the states, women’s were harassed domestically on the basis of family status, caste, creed as well as color, which according to victor turner had put them in the state of liminality. The women of our society are always on threshold and passing through the narratives of rapture, which denounced their dignity. Violence and gender discrimination is a challenge for today’s India and it becomes responsibility of every citizen of India to look and think on this matter seriously, otherwise, the day is not far that we should again enter into the age of conflict.