• 12 Launched in 1987, STEP aims to upgrade the skills of poor and asset less women and provide employment to women in the traditional sectors such as agriculture, dairying, fisheries, sericulture, handlooms and handicrafts. In addition to training and employment support, STEP’s three special features are ‘gender sensitization’, women in development inputs’ and ‘support services’. Since inception the programme has provided employment to around 1.52 lakh women. The Eighth Five Year Plan has earmarked RS. 57.00 Crore to provide employment to 50,000 women. So far, dairying has received the maximum support followed by handlooms, handicrafts and sericulture.
• Under this programme financial assistance is provided to public sector undertakings, corporations, autonomous bodies and voluntary organizations to train women in non-traditional trades and ensure employment to them in these areas. Priority is given for training in electronics, electrical equipment, watch assembly, computer programming printing and binding, handlooms, garment manufacturing, food processing, hotel management, fashion technology, beauty culture, tourism management, office management etc. In the Eighth Plan, there is a provision of RS. 20.00 Crore to train/upgrade skills for about 20,000 women.
Socio – Economic Programme (SEP)
• Implemented by the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB), the programme of training and employment caters to needy women such as widows, deserted wives, economically backward and handicapped women. In the Eighth Plan, Rs. 25.00 crore is available to assist 70,000 women. SEP takes care of both literate/semi-literate and illiterate women. Trades promoted under this programme include traditional, agro-based industries and non-traditional trades.
Condensed Courses of Education and Vocational Training for Adult Women (CCE & VT)
• This scheme started in 1958 and recast in 1975 by the Central Social Welfare Board provides new vistas of employment through continuing education and vocational training for those who are school drop-outs. In the Eighth Plan, Rs. 40.00 crores is available to conduct 4,500 courses for 1.35 lakh beneficiaries.
Monitoring of Beneficiary Oriented Schemes (BOS) for Women
• beneficiary oriented schemes which are women specific are monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. Development indicators relating to the goal of ‘equality for women’ in the priority programmes of the Government are also kept under close watch. While such monitoring focuses attention on gender perspectives, the process itself helps in consciousness rising within Government.
Gender Sensitisation and Awareness Generation
• The treatment meted out to women and girls in different modes of human communication, mirrors the prevailing biases towards them. Government attaches great importance to efforts which trigger changes in societal attitudes. An integrated campaign projecting a positive image of both women and the girl child through electronic, print and film media is the most important component of the communication strategy. A large number of TV spots, documentary films, radio programmes with positive messages about the girl child and women, have been produced for wide publicity. Awareness generation programmes and programmes to check atrocities against women are funded by Government, too.
• To sensitise planners, policy makers the enforcement machinery and development agencies, a country-wide gender sensitization programme has been launched since 1991. So far, the major States of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Delhi have been covered.
Gender Sensitisation of 1991 Census
• For the first time in India’s demographic history, an attempt was made to capture women’s work in the informal sector in the 1991 Census. Provisional data on ‘Workers and their Distribution’ has shown a substantial increase in female work participation during the 1991 Census compared to that of 1981.