Lately, Lalitha Kumaramangalam took over as the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) in 2014 and the past two years of her tenure had been quite eventful with talking about legalizing sex work to regulate trade. Along with this she openly declared NCW’s support to the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan’s call for a ban on triple Talaq. Surely, during these two years, she has been taking most of the things into consideration and working wholeheartedly towards them. In a recent interview, she talked about the various issues related to violence against women and dismal child sex ration in India.
Based on her views, it is really important to change the social attitudes towards women and not seeing them as someone’s responsibility. Referring to women as someone’s daughter, sister, wife, or mother not only leads to her disguised personality but also induces a lot of violent acts against them. NCW totally supports and advocates the freedom of choice of women- as to be born, to be educated, to be married, to whom she gets married, and to bear children. All of this speaks of giving women the right to decide upon their lives on their terms.
The idea of change is revolutionary. The change in the mindsets is sure happening but the process is slow. It is a positive change that we see people talking about women’s safety rather than asking, “why is it important to go out in the dark?” or passing comments like men are tempted to misbehave and it’s the responsibility of a woman to look after her safety. But nowadays we do look towards building and providing a much safer environment where the sole responsibility of her safety is not on her. This is definitely a much positive change when viewed through the lens of time.
Talking ,about the reporting of the crimes against women, Ms Kumaramangalam mentioned how it is no longer a taboo for women to come up front and openly talk about the violence they face. And the obvious reason behind the improving numbers is due to the fact that when they know that they will be supported, they tend to fearless and are ready to fight against it.
Cities like Delhi have registered high rates of gender-biased sex selections and some of the districts in Haryana have been lately showing the progress reaching towards a balanced sex ratio. The government’s scheme of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has been much effective with NCW’s effort to work at the grassroots levels and spread the awareness of various other schemes pertaining to improving CSR.
Urban Indian women roughly get around 70% of what their male counterparts are paid. This can be only solved with the rising levels of education coupled with the awareness that will empower women to stand for their rights, be it rural or urban women. There is a move towards securing their position today and the thing which becomes the most important is that women themselves should stop feeling embarrassing to ask for the things that rightfully belong to them be it about the equal pay at work or about the land rights.
When Ms Kumaramangalam was asked about the solutions to this problem she talked about education and how the problem of school dropouts is hindering the way to achieve a cent percent education. Also the onset of periods and taboo of not talking about menstruation publicly with the fear of being teased is one of the major problems. This leads to a large number of drop outs.
Marital Rape again though less reported but becomes the most prevalent way of violence against women. Who’s to ask what happens behind the closed doors? But the consent surely matters. Rape essentially is the exercise of power. And marriage cannot sanctify rape. The problem lays in the way the social conditioning of the people tales place. An aware and sensitive man would look for woman’s consent rather than imposing it on her.
With the above-mentioned problems that women do face in so-called modern India. The Chairperson of NCW totally supports the reservation for women at different electoral levels where they can come and feel empowered to be able to bring about the change in the current scenario. And this can be done by passing the Women’s Reservation Bill which has been stuck for many years now. Once the bill is passed it will definitely bring about the change that Independent India is looking for.