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India Boasts 43% Female Presence in STEM, Among the World’s Highest

Gender justice is an essential obligation of the government, as stated in the Indian Constitution. Several initiatives have been done by the government over the years to promote a gender equitable society and enhanced representation of women in various sectors.

These include enactment of criminal laws and special laws like ‘the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’, ‘the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961’, ‘the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006’; ‘the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986’; ‘the Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’, ‘the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956’, ‘the Commission of Sati Prevention Act, 1987’, ‘the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012’, ‘the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, minimum 1/3rd reservations for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), reservation for women in central/ state police forces, enabling provisions for induction of women in National Defence Academy (NDA) and Sainik Schools, Commando Forces etc. Srimati Smriti Irani, provided this information in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

India is undergoing a rapid transition from women’s-development to women-led development, with the vision of a new India. The government has adopted a multi-pronged approach to address issues of women on a life-cycle continuum basis, encompassing educational, social, economic, and political empowerment.

India is one of the only 15 countries in the world with a woman Head of State, and it has the largest absolute number of elected women representatives in local governments. India has 10% more women pilots than the global average, and the share of women pilots is significantly higher in India.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued an advisory to all scheduled airlines and major airport operators of India to participate in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 25 by 2025 initiative, which aims to increase the number of women in senior positions by either 25% against currently reported metrics or to a minimum representation of 25% by 2025. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has enabled female participation in sensitive domains fundamental to the functioning of the organization such as Air Traffic Control, Fire Services, and Airport Operations.

India has a high Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of girls in Primary and Secondary Education, with a presence of girls/women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at 43%. Multiple initiatives have been undertaken to increase the participation of women in STEM, such as VigyanJyoti, the Overseas Fellowship Scheme, and several women scientists playing significant roles in India’s maiden Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).

READ MORE| Government Data Reveals Surge in Women Enrolling in STEM Courses

The Government of India has taken various schematic and legislative interventions and made enabling provisions to ensure women’s participation in various professions. Under the Skill India Mission, the government is providing training to female workers through a network of Women Industrial Training Institutes, National Vocational Training Institutes, and Regional Vocational Training Institutes.

To encourage employment of women, enabling provisions have been incorporated in the recently enacted Labour Codes, such as the Code on Wages, 2019, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020, and the Code on Social Security, 2020.

The National Agriculture Market (eNAM), scheme “Kisan Call Centres,” mobile applications like KisanSuvidha, Agri Market, National Crop Insurance Portal, and UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance), are helping women overcome or compensate the barriers they face in accessing markets.

The Government of India implements “Mission Shakti” with two components, Sambal and Samarthya, which nurture an enabling environment for women farmers. Farmers’ welfare schemes like Pradhan MantriKisanSamman Nidhi, Pradhan MantriKisanMaanDhanYojana, Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYojana, ParamparagatKrishiVikasYojana, and Pradhan MantriFasalBimaYojana continue to improve farm women’s access to productive resources and overall improvement in the lives of rural women.

The National Cooperative Development Corporation plays a significant role in uplifting women cooperatives, with a large number engaged in cooperatives dealing with activities related to food grain processing, plantation crops, oilseeds processing, fisheries, dairy & livestock, spinning mills, handloom and power loom weaving, and Integrated Cooperative Development Projects.

The government has made enabling provisions for increasing the representation of women in Armed forces, such as granting permanent commission to women, allowing entry of women in National Defence Academy (NDA), and inducting women officers in all branches and streams.

The government has also taken various women-centric initiatives to encourage participation of more women in government service, such as availing Child Care Leave (CCL), leaving headquarters and proceeding on foreign travel during CCL, special allowances for women employees with disabilities, leave up to 90 days for female Government servants, exemption of fees from competitive examinations, and posting of husband and wife at the same station.

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Source: PIB

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