ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Informal Sectors

Posted by Kathryn Schwartz on February 07, 2014
Policies

• The Shramshakti Report, for the first time, underlined the critical contribution of the marginalised poor women in both rural and urban areas, to the growth of the formal economy. The situation of women in the informal sector, including self-employed and wage labour, paid and unpaid workers, as well as contractual employees was studied by the Commission. Among the significant findings, based on observations and discussions with Governmental and non-Governmental Organizations and social activists, was that one third of all households were solely supported by women and in another third, over 50 % of the earnings were contributed by women. Further, 94 % of the women were found to be working in the unorganized sector such as agriculture, dairying, animal husbandry and fisheries. One of the key factors underlying the exploitation of women workers was lack of organization in the informal sector. Based on detailed analyses of such findings, many valuable recommendations were submitted in the Report. These included, recognition of women’s work as home-makers, as social/economic producers, enlarging the definition of women-workers in all subsequent data collection efforts to embrace all paid and unpaid work performed at the home and outside, setting up of an exclusive credit-body for poor and self-employed women and linking all training programmes to employment with the objective of increasing the remuneration and improving living conditions of poor women. Some of these recommendations have already been operationalised.

Report of the National Expert Committee on Women Prisoners (1986)

• The Expert Committee studied the conditions of women prisoners in the criminal correctional justice system and made a series of recommendations suggesting legislation, custodial, correctional and prison reforms relation to women prisoners. Implementation of these recommendations by the Central and State Governments is being oriented by the National Commission for Women.

The National Plan of Action for the Girl Child (1991-2000)

• India is a signatory to the World Declaration on the survival, protection and development of children and has drawn up the Plan of Action for implementing it in the 1990s. In addition to this, another decadal Plan of Action exclusively for the girl- child was prepared in 1992, to take care of her gender specific needs.

• To achieve the goals laid down therein, a number of initiatives have been launched. They include enactment of legislation to ban sex-determination tests so as to prevent female feticide, conduct of a survey of the problem of female infanticide in 9 States, mounting of multi-media campaigns to develop a positive image of the girl-child etc. Equally important is the fact that the State Governments are also drawing up Plans of Action to cater to local requirements and ensure the holistic development of the girl-child.

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