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Day 49 – Q 2.What are the life cycle vulnerabilities of rural women? Discuss the government initiatives launched to address those vulnerabilities.

2. What are the life cycle vulnerabilities of rural women? Discuss the government initiatives launched to address those vulnerabilities. 

ग्रामीण महिलाओं की जीवन चक्र कमजोरियां क्या हैं? उन कमजोरियों को दूर करने के लिए शुरू की गई सरकारी पहलों पर चर्चा करें।


One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. This is the opening line of Book II of de Beauvoir’s. This implies that weak position of women in society is construct of civilization, a reflection not of “essential” differences in men and women but of differences in their situation. This also implicitly highlights the life cycle vulnerabilities women have to go through. 

Life cycle vulnerabilities refers to vulnerabilities a women has to go through at different stages of life from “womb to tomb”. Rural women are specifically more vulnerable due to higher life cycle vulnerabilities. 


Life cycle vulnerabilities of rural women 

  • Girl child in Womb

    • Son meta preference (less opportunity to come to the world)
    • easy availability of Preconception sex selection facilities may be a catalyst in the declining child sex ratio

  • Infant

    • In a study conducted by the Centre for Social Research, Haryana, fear of violence against women is a major cause of female foeticide.
    • Neglect of health care need of girl child. 

  • Adolescent 

    • Disparity in education – female literacy ~ 65%;  male literacy ~ 80% (2011 census)
    • Educational opportunity is further restricted for girl child due to problems of transportation, patriarchy etc 
    • Child marriage ~ 27% (UNICEF)
    • Males get more medical care compared to girls
    • 2% of the female population is absolute anaemic. 

  • Adult – 

Huge economic opportunity gap 

  • Female labour force participation rate ~ 26% (Niti Aayog)
  • Gender pay gap ~ 34% (ILO)
  • Glass ceiling
  • Feminization of informal sector and de-feminization of formal sector.   

Political backwardness

  • female representation in Parliament ~ 99th in the world
  • Lok Sabha ~ 12%; Rajya Sabha ~ 11%.
  • Practice of “Sarpanch Pati” in village panchayats.

Socially – triple burden comes on rural women – homemaking + agriculture (due to male migration) and child upbringing. 

  • Married

    • Exorbitant dowry demand
    • 12% of the female population of the country suffers from repeated pregnancy (80% of their productive life is spent in pregnancy) & lack of nutrition.
    • Maternal Mortality Rate in India has dropped from 167 to 130.

  • Old age

    • Desertion of old women is very high.
    • Health care needs of old ladies are neglected.
    • Violence against old women.  

Government initiatives launched to address these vulnerabilities Panchayat

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP), a comprehensive programme is being implemented to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), {erstwhile Maternity Benefit Programme} has been contributing towards better enabling environment by providing cash incentives for improved health and nutrition to pregnant and nursing mothers.
  • Scheme for Adolescent Girls aims at girls in the age group 11-18, to empower and improve their social status through nutrition, life skills, home skills and vocational training.
  • Pradhan Mantri Mahila Shakti Kendra scheme, promote community participation through involvement of Student Volunteers for empowerment of rural women.
  • National Creche Scheme to provide day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women who are employed.
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) to provide micro-credit to poor women for various livelihood support and income generating activities at concessional terms in a client-friendly procedure to bring about their socio-economic development.
  • Swadhar Greh to provide relief and rehabilitation to destitute women and women in distress.
  • Ujjawala, a Comprehensive Scheme for prevention of trafficking and for rescue, rehabilitation, re-integration and repatriation of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Working Women Hostels for ensuring safe accommodation for women working away from their place of residence. Under this scheme, 2 new proposals have been received and 2 sanctioned in Himachal Pradesh during last three years.
  • Schemes of One Stop Centre (OSC) and Women Helpline (WH) are being implemented to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/ case management, psychosocial counseling and temporary support services to women affected by violence.
  • Gender Budgeting Scheme is being implemented as a tool for mainstreaming gender perspective at various stages of planning, budgeting, implementation, impact assessment and revisiting of policy/programme objectives and allocations. The Scheme helps in strengthening of institutional mechanisms and training of various stakeholders so as to mainstream gender concerns in Central and State Governments.
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is being implemented through States/UTs with the aim of holistic development of children upto 6 years of age and to meet nutritional needs of pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) (now Child protection Services) is being implemented through the State Government/UT Administrations to create a safe and secure environment for overall development of children in need of care and protection in urban and semi-urban areas.
  • National Nutrition Mission (NNM): The Government of India has approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) commencing from 2017-18.  The NNM, as an apex body, will monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide the nutrition related interventions across the Ministries. The programme through the targets will strive to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies.


To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves. – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Thus awakening of nation cannot happen without removing cycle vulnerabilities of rural women. 

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