Sustainable development goals (SDGs) were decided at United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The main aim was to address all political, social and environmental issues and making governments to get involved in this together. (Sustainable Development Goals, 2017). There are total 17 interlinked goals. Thus, the result of each goal affects other goals too.
In this paper, I will discuss Gender Equality which is SDG 5. I will compare policies on gender equality from Canada, USA, and India. All three have been retrieved from their respective official websites and links have been added in and of this document.
Status of Gender Equality
Gender equality has a very broad scope which ranges from female foeticide to social equality. This goal is focused on ending all kind of discrimination towards females. It has been noticed that ending gender equality has positive effects on many aspects of the economy and other fields (UN, 2017).
Policy for gender equality in India
The Department of Women and Child Development, Government of India, came into existence as a separate Ministry with effect from 30th January 2006, earlier since 1985 it was a Department under the Ministry of Human Resources Development. In India Ministry of women and child development is responsible for making policy on gender equality. Recently Union Minister of Women & Child Development Mrs. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi drafted a new policy on Women empowerment. The policy has been developed with a focus on not just giving equal opportunities but on creating a socio-cultural, political & economic environment in which women can enjoy their rights (National Policy for Women, 2016).
Objectives of the policy include:
- Creating a socio-cultural, political & economic environment in which women can enjoy their rights.
- Mainstreaming gender in all-round development processes.
- Appropriate and affordable quality health care.
- Development of gender-sensitive judicial system
- Elimination of violence by strengthening policies.
- Partnerships for women empowerment.
The policy will be implemented under 3 types of action plans namely Short-term (1 year), Mid-term (0-5 year) and long-term (above 5 years). Indicators have been defined for measuring the progress of all actions. The framework includes specific, achievable and effective strategies.
Policy for gender equality in Developed countries
Policies from developed countries such as USA (Gender equality and female empowerment policy) and Canada (Policy on Gender Equality, n.d.) talks about to advance the equal participation of men and women in shaping sustainable societies. In Canada, the focus of policy is on gender equity than gender equality. The policy is based on the principle that same treatment doesn’t always yield same results but sometimes different treatment may yield same results. Involvement of women in developing all policies is crucial because of the difference of circumstances makes a difference.
Main points of the policy include:
- Considering different perspectives, roles, needs & interests in policy making.
- Access and control over resources and benefits.
- Involving institutions in gender equality.
- The potential impact of programs/projects on men and women.
Gender equality is a vast topic and is a basic requirement for any nation, society or ethnic group. There are differences between socio-cultural, political, and economic circumstances between different nations. Thus, different nations need different policies based on their circumstances. Gender-Typed Roles, Associated Responsibilities, and Power Differentials affect the gender equality (Usta, Farver, & Hamieh, 2016).
The new women empowerment policy as covered all aspects which are required to attain SDG. Proper implementation is required to attain desired results. In next section some suggestions have been added to improve implementation.
Karnataka is a state in southern part of India. As per 2011 census, it has a population of 6.11 crores. It's relatively a large state. The sex ratio of the state is 973 females per 1000 males which have improved from 965 from 2001 (Karnataka Population Census data 2011, n.d.).
The policy has just been made and is yet to implement by Government of India. The policy document is well structured thus, I will add my recommendations to respective sections of the document.
In section 4 for document discuss objectives of policy but some key objectives are still missing, such as
- Policies for female foeticide.
- Policies for single mothers.
- Discrimination of women under some religious beliefs.
- Pressure on women to get married.
Section 5 discuss areas where policy will work.
- Health including food security and nutrition – it covers all important aspects of female health but strategies need to be planned to make sure that all recommendations as achieved. Emerging technology such as eHealth can be used to consult specialist during pregnancy in case women are in the remote area. Also as the system can be planned in which a health worker reaches the registered pregnant women at their homes regularly for check-up rather than waiting for the woman to reach PHC. Same can be implemented in case of infants.
- Education – Just providing reservation won’t help in improving literacy. The incentive should be given to school going girls which gives them motivation. And there should be a system to check abuse of incentive policy.
- The economy – Long-term outcome of educating women will help in achieving their part in the economy. Strategies can be made to create communities at the local level which monitors and solves issues of gender discrimination in jobs. There certain jobs which are less suitable for women (e.g night security guard) due to cultural reasons. Some part-time jobs should be created which women can do while studying which will give them confidence and experience for future.
- Governance and decision making – As suggested there will be reservation in administration, it’s important to involve say of common women, NGOs and other social bodies in policy making. Proper unbiased research should be done before making new policies. Needs of women differs in every age group, area, religion, cast and SES.
- Violence – It's common in many households due to male dominance thinking of families (Usta, Farver, & Hamieh, 2016). A proper legislation should be made but its important to cover all loopholes as some females abuse this privilege.
Gender equality and female empowerment policy. (n.d.). Retrieved from USAID: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1865/GenderEqualityPolicy_0.pdf
Karnataka Population Census data 2011. (n.d.). Retrieved 05 22, 2017, from Census India: http://www.census2011.co.in/census/state/karnataka.html
National Policy for Women. (2016). Retrieved from Ministry Of Women & Child Development: http://wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/women%20empowerment%20poliy_Final_17May.pdf
Policy on Gender Equality. (n.d.). Retrieved from Global Affairs Canada: http://www.international.gc.ca/development-developpement/priorities-priorites/ge-es/policy-politique.aspx?lang=eng
Sustainable Development Goals. (2017, 05 16). Retrieved from UNDP: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html
UN. (2017, 05 18). Gender Equality. Retrieved 01 31, 2017, from UNDP: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-5-gender-equality.html
Usta, J., Farver, J. M., & Hamieh, C. S. (2016). Effects of Socialization on Gender Discrimination and Violence Against Women in Lebanon. Violence Against Women, 22(4), 415-431.
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