According to Census 2011, population of India increased from 103 crore in 2001 to 121 crore in 2011, an increase of 18 crore or 17.6 percent. Out of 121 crore, 62.4 crore (51.6 percent) were males and 58.6 crore (48.4) females. Unfortunately, Census 2011 data shows that the sex ratio for children below 6 years (i.e. number of girls for every 1,000 boys) dropped from 927 in 2001 to a dismal 914 in 2011. This decline is unabated since 1961 Census. This gender bias draws attention to a lingering societal flaw which economic growth is not being able to correct.
Gender equality is a constituent of development as well as an instrument of development. No country can be deemed developed if half of its population is severely disadvantaged in terms of basic needs, livelihood options, access to knowledge, and political voice.
Discrimination on the lines of gender is not always overt. It appears in very subtle forms such as in the nature of work performed, skills required to perform the work and the valuation of these skills and the technology used by men and women. One problem more specific to women is that they are subject to various forms of harassment at the workplace. Verbal and physical violence against women has been an age-old method of subjugating them.
Advancement and empowerment of women has been a leading objective of state policy ever since the attainment of Independence in 1947. Institutions of different types-Central, State and Local Governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and other bodies-are active to ensure gender equality as laid down in the Constitution of India.
Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) of India recognized women, for the first time, not just as equal citizens but as agents of economic and social growth. Women's lack of economic empowerment not only impedes growth and poverty reduction, but also has a host of other negative impacts including less favourable education and health outcomes for children. Thus, it is extremely important to ensure that women are economically, socially and politically empowered.
This book provides a vivid account of the problems faced by Indian women, particularly those belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. It explains comprehensively the various policies, programmes and schemes initiated by the Government of India in co-operation with other agencies for the welfare, development and empowerment of women in India.
The book will be of interest to those involved/interested in the socio-economic empowerment of women, including researchers, academicians, industry associations, and policy formulators.