By:- Lolano P. Khuvung : The Nagaland Women Commission(NWC) which was set up in the year 2007, by the Government of Nagaland, serves as the right platform to help women group members to analyze their situations, objectives and strategies on which the women have to work for their upliftment.
During the recently concluded training on “Empowerment of Women,” chairperson, NWC, Sano Vamuzo has rightly remarked, “NWC is the right platform to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women. This is the platform to raise our voice our needs, seek justice and ask for protection of our rights and our deep-felt needs.” Echoing her views on Women Empowerment, she said, “Women Empowerment is about women being allowed to realize and utilize their capabilities to the fullest extend without any hindrance on account of her gender. Women Empowerment is a process towards building and developing a better society in every area, in which women are equal partners with men.”
Realizing the complexity of Women Empowerment process which requires both macro and micro considerations, the NWC has toured all the district headquarters of Nagaland to find out how women are faring in their respective districts. The district women seminar for all the eleven districts on the theme “Towards a new Horizon” has also been completed where the seminar focused on Legal Rights of Women, Women in decision making, Women and Health, Women and Education and Empowerment of Women. The commission members also had interaction with various women NGOs, the Superintendent of Police and Deputy Commissioner of the districts on issues relating to women, Public Distribution System, and other government programmes implemented in their respective districts. They also visited the district hospitals and jails.
Basing on the State Women Empowerment Policy 2007, officers who underwent training at ATI during the last week of August 08’ recommended the draft action plan for empowerment of women.
With a view to empower women in the economic front, the action plan suggested the following points:
· Entrepreneurship Development Programme in all the Allied Departments.
· Participation of women in exposure trips.
· Constitution of Women cell in each Department.
· Livestock Production Programme covering sub-urban and rural women.
· Processing and marketing
· Preference to women in all innovative schemes.
· Preference to women for any loan component/ grant-in-aid available in different Departments.
· Enforcement of Minimum Wages Act
· Reservation for women in self employment scheme.
· To provide opportunities/avenues for women in setting up cold storage/ warehousing etc.
· Dealership in Argo-Products.
· Technology Transfer to women farmers.
· Identifying Training Institute for Women in Accounting and book-keeping.
· Adoption of gender sensitive Agriculture Policy.
Keeping in mind the urgency and priority to ensure access to improvement in the quality of learning particularly the education of girls and women community the action plan highlighted:-
· Special Scholarship for girl students of Cl-IX and Cl-X to be enhanced.
· Post of Vocational Training Teachers to be created in all Schools.
· Special Scholarship for girl students besides the Post-Matric Scholarship to be awarded to Meritorious girl students pursuing higher studies
In the health sector the action plan envisaged:-
· Creation of post and posting of Nurses to all Health sectors.
· To establish more school ‘of nursing in the State.
· To establish a College of Nursing in the State.
The plan suggested that Rural PHE programmes which comprises of 1/3 Women, ought to be amended and the strength be increased by 50%, representation by women.
Other recommendations included:-
· Induct more women in the State Police force to increase their strength to 10% (At present the present force is 2% only).
· Establish women cells in all District HQs and Sub divisions. There should be minimum 3 women constables and one woman Havildar, ASI and Sub-Inspector in other Police Stations.
· Provide separate Lock-ups with attached bathrooms for women suspects.
· Provide crèches and rest rooms for women in all Police Stations.
Pertaining to Social Welfare and support services for Empowerment of Women the action plan suggested:-
· Shelter for Urban poor women.
· Support-services for SHGs at all levels – in term of quality training covering the entire dynamics of the concept – including market linkages & marketing stations.
· All the departments to submit the details of women/child specific programmes, being implemented to the Department of Women Development for coordination.
· Enhancement of Scholarship to all physically challenged students.
· Provide toilets for the physically challenged women in all public places.
· Provide nutritional support to all HIV positive Women and children.
· Provide Support Services to school drop out girls/women in difficult circumstances for self employment, through loans and Vocational Trainings.
The issue of Women Empowerment has been one of the burning topics and a great concern to the thinkers, scholars and planners of the day. A number of articles, books and write- ups are coming up in the recent days bring interesting issues to the concerned community and are sensitizing their thinking about women empowerment. It has also gained more importance in view of the principle of gender equality, enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties and Directive Principles. The Constitution not only grants equality to women but also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women.