Mehbooba CM designate but women in J&K disempowered

Jammu Tawi, March 27

With PDP President Mehbooba Mufti set to take over as first woman  Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, all eyes are on her whether she would be able to address the glaring gender disparities.

A World Bank report, a copy of which is with Newspoint Bureau, has made harsh remarks on the gender disparities in Jammu and Kashmir. It has sought immediate redressal of this huge disparity and advised government of Jammu and Kashmir to take the issue with all seriousness. Bank has made these harsh remarks in project evaluation report of the Jhelum and Tawi flood recovery project.

The report has dwelt in detail about how disempowered women in Jammu and Kashmir are. It has laid stress on women empowerment and said that the main barriers to gender justice and women’s empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir are violence against women; lack of decision-making authority; lack of participation in political affairs; poor and low status of women; lack of education; lack of awareness; inadequate and unorganized health care delivery system; and unemployment leading to poverty.

The report has categorically held out that gender justice and women’s empowerment need to be viewed through interconnected web of multiple vulnerabilities and restricted access to health, education, gainful employment, social security and decision-making. Referring to instability in the region over past few decades, the report maintains that the conflict has impacted the livelihoods of several families and given rise to a fragile social milieu.

World Bank has noted with concern that region’s infant mortality rate was 37 as against India’s figure of 40. It has elaborated that female literacy remains low when compared to men. The literacy rate has increased substantially in the last decade from by 13 percent in the last decade i.e. from 55 percent in 2001 to 68.74 percent in 2011. While female literacy has also increased dramatically from 42.22 percent in 2001 to 58.01 percent in 2011, gender disparities in education still exists in rural and urban areas.

The dropout rate from class 10th to 12th is 25.33 percent, which is very high. Out of 22 districts, the dropout rate in 12 districts is higher than the regional level dropout rate. Huge difference in gross enrollment ratio (GER) at upper primary level and secondary level is also a cause of concern. GER at the upper primary level is 96.7 percent; whereas GER at the secondary level is very low i.e. 63.45.

The number of out of school children in the age group of 6-7 years is 13,077. Out of these, 5,391 are boys and 7,686 girls. Similarly, in the age group of 8-10 years, the number of children not attending schools is 16,027. Out of these, 6,605 are boys and 9,422 girls. The number of such children in the age group of 11-14 years is 20,715, out of which 8,391 are boys and 12,324 girls.

Report has said that women remain under-represented across sectors and a majority of their contribution tends to be invisible. 6.8 percent of the households are female-headed and 52 percent of these female-headed households are widows. Bank has called for need to mainstream women’s concerns.

Another interesting aspect brought out by report is that 51.5 percent of married women aged 15–49 in urban areas suffer from anemia. Most women are primarily responsible for household work like fetching water, washing, caring for elderly or children and only 42 percent women do work other than carry out household chores. This prevents them from engaging meaningfully in income generation activities or education, particularly in the case of young and adolescent girls.




These hands demand Justice, empowerment, equality and opportunity to grow

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