Day 44 – Q 5.Does it make more sense for the government to lay more emphasis on women and child development to ensure overall socio-economic transformation. Do you agree? Substantiate.
5. Does it make more sense for the government to lay more emphasis on women and child development to ensure overall socio-economic transformation. Do you agree? Substantiate.
क्या समग्र सामाजिक–आर्थिक परिवर्तन सुनिश्चित करने के लिए सरकार द्वारा महिलाओं और बाल विकास पर अधिक जोर देना एक उपयुक्त निति नहीं है? क्या आप सहमत हैं? पुष्टी करें।
When women move forward, the family moves, the village moves and then ultimately the Nation moves forward. In the same way, as Lal Bahadur Shastri noted, Children are the future of the nation and citizens of tomorrow. Any government would be prudent enough to lay more emphasis on women and child development to ensure socio-economic transformation.
The sorry state of Indian women and child development levels is a more reason making sense of the government’s increasing focus on their development. India has high infant mortality rate, 1/3rd of global stunted children, ranks 103 in Global hunger index, Immunisation level still around 70%, Learning outcome of children is dismal, school dropouts specially after secondary education is still high etc.,
Apart from this, if one looks at women development – Literacy rate is less than men (around 65%), Labour force participation rate is around 25%, High mortality rate, Low -nutrition level(50% women being anemic), increasing crimes against women etc., – all this shows that the potential of women and children are not completely utilized.
Women ensuring socio-economic transformation:
- Family: A aware woman would be in a better position to take care of the family. A pilot project in Madhya Pradesh’s village showed that women are likely to spend in children education, health etc., if she has the power to decide on expenditure.
- Health transformation: Women development also ensures decreased fertility rates and lower infant mortality rates, and lower maternal mortality rates. This in turn also have impact on nutrition of women as well as the children and help increase the productivity and participation in economy and society.
- Independent decisions: educated women are better able to make decisions related to health, both for themselves and their children. This increase the quality of life for women which would reduce instances like domestic violence, harassment etc., E.g. A survey in Bangalore showed that the increasing education and employment level is reducing the cases of dowry in Karnataka.
- Political participation: Women development (education and credibility) more likely results in civic participation of women. There are several instances in which educated women in the developing world were able to secure benefits for themselves through political movements. E.g. protests against women crimes in Delhi etc.,
- Socio-Economic transformation: Women employment not only helps in economic benefits but improves the society as a whole. E.g. The JHarcraft project of Jharkhand (a SHG project) not only provided employment to women, but also have improved the socio-economic indicators like education level, health, less number of loans and so on.
- Reform in the mindset: Women development through education and employment is the only way to fight the patriarchal mindset and shatter the glass ceiling imposed upon women.
Christine Lagarde noted that the women participation in economy would boost the economic growth by as much as 35%. Also, as Kofi Annan observed, a society which has developed women would be peaceful, egalitarian and sustainable.
Children development ensuring socio-economic transformation:
- Children Health: Child malnutrition, diseases etc., would not only impact the child development but also adds additional burden on the family as health expenditure. Also, neglect of children health results in underdevelopment of cognitive abilities which impacts education and employment.
- Employment: Children education is vital for reaping demographic dividend. Early childhood education, Skill development programmes etc., is emphasized for the same.
- Instrument of change: Children being the futute of the nation, the society as a whole is dependent on the Children development and learning. Morally educated children would mean less crimes in future, healthy family relationships and so on.
- Children are the effective means of bringing changes within the family and bring behavioral changes. E.g. A school in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka is roping in children to spread awareness on plastic change. Recently, A district administration in Telangana ran a literacy programme for illiterate mothers with their children teaching them.
- Cognitive and holistic development of children also helps the nation through improved innovations, research and inventions. For the same reason, government is taking up schemes like Atal Innovation mission, Yuva Vignan puraskar and so on.
- Empirical evidence from across the globe demonstrates that the foundations for human development are laid down in early childhood.
“Economic growth without investment in human development is unsustaibable and unethical” – Amartya Sen.
Women and children in this context are vital human resources. Thus, there is a need which is also recognized by the governments all over the world (In India though schemes like Mission Indradhanush, Samagra Shiksha, PMMVY, BBBP and so on) which would help in women and child empowerment.