One important aspect is to halt the steady devaluation of women’s labour.
Latest crime statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2016 indicate that there is no abatement in the alarming trend of increasing violence against women in the country, with as many as 928 cases of serious incidents that include domestic violence, sexual assault and kidnapping being recorded per day. This amounts to one incident every one and a half minute, which is more or less the same since 2014. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya account for 39.5 per cent of the total crimes, leaving one wondering about the impact of government sponsored campaigns like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, which appears to have remained in the realm of political rhetoric. The data also indicates that the major proportion of crimes against SCs and STs are committed against women from these communities, making them the most vulnerable section of women in the country.
One important aspect is to halt the steady devaluation of women’s labour. The manner in which public figures regularly demean women’s roles, relegating them to the role of “housewives’’ and “baby makers” is simply shocking to say the least.
The market economy thrives on the commodification of women’s bodies which contributes to strengthening their image as sex objects rather than as human beings with rights. We need to highlight their economic and social contributions, both within the household and in the economy. Most importantly, women need economic empowerment in the form of better wages, secure jobs and social security measures that will reduce their vulnerability and improve their capacity to stand up and say “NO” to violence.
(Kiran Moghe is National Secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association)