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All violence is male-generated: Maneka Gandhi

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New Delhi:  India is undoubtedly a patriarchal society but is it fair to be sexist?

Courting controversy, union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Monday said that the role of men in gender sensitization was critical since “all the violence is male-generated”.

The role of men in gender sensitization was the most critical since “all the violence is male-generated. We have introduced (the concept of) ‘Gender Champions’ in schools, under which boys who have been respectful and helpful to girls will be rewarded”, the minister said in reply to a question while interacting live with users on Facebook, as part of the ministry’s ‘#100Women’ initiative launched in July.

Under the initiative, the ministry has collaborated with the social media platform, Facebook, to identify 100 women across the country who made a difference to their communities.

During the time she spent on live chat in the digital space, Gandhi was asked many questions on children’s education, health and safety, crimes against women and other political issues, though she answered only a few of them.

As for the alleged rape of two Nepalese maids by a Saudi diplomat in Gurgaon in Haryana, Gandhi said the case was an “eye-opener” and added that the central government would see what safeguards could be put in place to prevent such incidents in future.

On the implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the minister said, “We get periodic reports from the states and work with the National Commission for Women and the police.”

The ministry was also setting up ‘One Stop Centres’ called ‘Sakhi’, which would play an active role in helping women in trouble, she added.

On media sensitivity to women’s issues, she said, “I find the media more sensitive to women’s issues in India as compared with the situation abroad.”

Sometimes the media highlighted only one aspect of violence against women and gave an impression abroad that Indian society was insensitive to the fairer sex, Gandhi said, adding that the media response had also led to public awareness as well as many laws.

On the education system in the country, Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, said, “I think education should be more gender sensitive and certainly animal sensitive.”

Regarding the reservation given to children of economically weaker sections in schools, she said it was important to bring children from such background into good schools. Statistically, she said, India needed a school every seven minutes.

Speaking about the ‘#100Women’ initiative, Gandhi earlier said: “We all have had women in our lives who have made a difference; who have changed the course of our own lives; and who have left a mark on the entire community and changed it for the better.”

These women would be nominated on the ministry’s Facebook page. Those getting maximum recommendations would be shortlisted which would then be put up before a jury for selection of these 100 women.

To submit their nominations, people should visit the ministry’s Facebook page before September 30 and fill in the nomination forms.

The selected women would be hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee on January 22, 2016, the day when the prime minister had launched the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ programme this year.

With inputs from IANS

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70 Years of Independence But No Right to Live With Dignity for Women: National Commission for Women Data

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Right to live with dignity
Indian students shout slogans as they hold placards demanding stringent punishment for rapists during a protest in New Delhi, India, April, 23, 2013. VOA
Oct 3, 2017: India completes 70 years of Independence, yet women of the country fight for their ‘right to live with dignity’. Our women are still not free from the clutches of societal customs. According to the media reports (2016-17), the National Commission for Women (NCW) received maximum complaints under this category, ahead of rape or molestation.
The NCW is a statutory body appointed to safeguard women’s rights. The highest number of complaints registered by NCW were 4,373 under the ‘right to live with dignity,’ followed by dowry harassment (1,752), disrespecting the modesty of a woman (946) and violence against women (943), reported IndiaTimes.
“The NCW is founded upon the recognition that in a patriarchal society, women face a far greater degree of vulnerability and, hence, any effort to reform any law cannot go against this well-evidenced fact and reality and now argue that men are equally if not more vulnerable than women,” All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary Kavita Krishnan said, reported PTI.
[bctt tweet=”As much as Right to live is a physical right, it is equally imperative to exercise a right to live with dignity. ” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]
Many a times police personals ask women inappropriate and insensitive questions during investigations. It is startling to see that NCW department has registered 3,963 complaints of police apathy, which also top the cases of molestation or dowry.
Often women are compelled to marry against their choice. Indian women grapple with the right to choice in marriage and forceful arranged marriages that dominate consensual marriages in the Indian society. NCW received 337 complaints about women wanting the right to choose their own spouses.

In the famous conflict between Maneka Gandhi and Union of India, she challenged her impounded passport in the apex court. Maneka was issued a passport on 1976, and within a week, the same was impounded because of the public interest. A writ petition was filed with the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of India gave a new light to Article 21 (III) by demonstrating that the right to live is not merely a physical right but encompasses the right to live with dignity as well.
As per the Article 21 of Indian Constitution:
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

 

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Taxing Menstruation? GST Denies Sanitary Napkins as Essential Commodity

GST has definitely marked a cornerstone in the Indian economy, however, it has failed to recognise the basic need of a woman

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GST
Most store owners in this market say they are unprepared for the switch to the Goods and Services Tax that will unify India into a single market because they do not have computers or internet connections. VOA

– By Naina Mishra

July 3, 2017: The revised GST rate list has yet again proved to be patricentric and ignored the natural process that leads to motherhood – “Menstruation”. With levying 12% tax on sanitary napkins, it evinced that menstrual hygiene of the 355 million women is still not the concern of the policymakers. What’s intimidating is the depiction of an Indian Woman in the society. Exemption of kumkum, sindoor, bindis, alta and bangles from tax exemplifies a picture of the ideal Indian woman as a visibly married Hindu woman in India.

In India, Menstrual hygiene still remains to be the most challenging developmental issues today. Regarded as a deep taboo, menstruation is a crafted illusion of myths and misinformation and thus inherently judged as shameful, gross and weird. Women and girls often times lack access to hygienic sanitary materials necessary for good menstrual hygiene. It is estimated that over 20 percent of girls drop out of school completely after reaching puberty.

Indirect taxation is classified into essential and luxury goods, and labeling sanitary pads as the luxury item, not admitting its essential attribute in myriads of women’s life is another critique of the revised GST rate list. The arguments on taxing sanitary pads keep on mounting that the product was not inborn or domesticated in India. Cotton rags conversely can be used as an alternative if used with discretion and washed properly. However, such basis cannot deny the access to basic menstrual sanitation facility to the women.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple Kamakhya questions the Dominant Religious Legacies against Menstrual Blood

A study by AC Nielsen titled, “sanitary Protection reveals only 12 % of India’s 355 million women use sanitary napkins. Over 88% of women resort to unsafe alternatives like un-sanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand. Incidents of Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) are 70% more prevalent among these women. The biggest challenge to using a Sanitary Napkins in India is the affordability owing to which 88% of women use old fabric, rags or sand to manage their menstrual flow.

Lately, Delhi Commission of Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal wrote to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley: “The better half of our population has been bestowed with the gift of motherhood and in this process, all females from the tender age of 10-12 years till 45-50 years face monthly menstruation. Since menstruation is a natural phenomenon, hygiene, and proper health during this period is a natural fundamental right of each female citizen of this country. However, sanitary napkins which are critical for the health and hygiene of millions of women are presently taxed.”

Not only this, there have been similar attempts in the past by Sushmita Dev, Member of Parliament, who launched a petition to  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for removal of tax on sanitary napkins.

Sushmita Dev with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley concerning petition

The highlights of the petition were affordability, accessibility, and availability of sanitary napkins to the Indian women. The petition deemed the tax unfair because of the underlying fact –  women being taxed 12 months a year, for about 39 years on a process they have no control over. The petition gained three lakh supporters in its due course.

The petition was also signed by Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development.

Maneka Gandhi supporting the Tax free wings petition

She stated, “I strongly believe a tax exemption for sanitary pads will also bolster the Honourable Prime Minister’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and “Swachh Bharat” initiatives. This will also encourage more girls to continue their school education and more women to participate in the workforce.”


– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Delhi University hostels bar Girls from stepping out on Holi

DU's International Student House for Women (ISHW) has stated that they came to this decision considering "the best interest of residents"

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Girls hostel (representative image),, Wikimedia

New Delhi, March 12, 2017:  Two hostels for girls under Delhi University have barred the boarders from going out on Holi, drawing sharp and immediate reactions from students who termed this step as “arbitrary”.

DU’s International Student House for Women (ISHW) has stated that they came to this decision considering “the best interest of residents”.

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According to the ISHW notice, “Residents and female guests will not be allowed to leave or enter the premises from 9 PM on March 12 till 6 PM on March 13. No late night permission will be granted on March 12 and those desirous of playing Holi should go outside the residential block within the hostel premises.”

According to PTI reports, a similar notice has been issued by Meghdoot Hostel, informing its residents that “the main gate will remain closed from 6 AM to 5.30 PM on March 13”. The inmates have also been barred from consuming “any narcotic drugs in form of thandai” and has also advised the students not to return to the hostel late in the evening of March 12.

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According to the statement of Pinjra Tod, a group of students who have been rallying against discriminatory rules for girls in university hostels, “The rise in sexual violence and harassment that women experience on the streets around Holi is barely addressed and instead once again, women are locked up for their own safety and arbitrary restrictions are imposed on their mobility.”

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Last week the group had protested outside the office of the Women and Child Development Ministry because of their objection to the statement by its minister Maneka Gandhi advocating curfew for the school and college students living in hostels-both boys and girls- to keep them away from their “own hormonal outbursts”.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang