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Economic Survey points to improving situation for women

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-08-2017 Staff Writer

New Delhi: There is an improvement in some of the indicators that reflect women’s empowerment in India, like the percentage of women with bank accounts and those who have a say in household decision-making, the second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17 released on Friday said.

Stressing on women’s workforce participation across all sectors for making the economy stronger, the survey said it is also essential “to achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities”.

Looking at specific states, the survey said Goa has the maximum number of women with a bank or savings account that they use. Sikkim has the largest percentage of women having a say in decision-making.

The survey said in a “majority of the states, more than 80% of married women participate in the household decision-making process, which is a reflection of greater autonomy and it is a pathway to empowerment in other spheres of life”.

For the assessment, the survey used the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, conducted by the health and family welfare ministry, which provides data for eight indicators under the category “women’s empowerment and gender-based violence”.

How empowered or not a state is, is determined on the basis of indicators like participation of women in household decisions, ownership of land, cellphones and bank accounts, and instances of spousal violence.

The survey also pointed out that the country is still grappling with issues like rising spousal violence. While the percentage of married women who have experienced spousal violence at the national level has decreased from NFHS-3 to NFHS-4, (from 37.2% to 28.8%), there are states like Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Delhi, Manipur and Meghalaya where incidents of spousal violence have increased in the past 10 years.

Even though after the 2012 Delhi gang rape, the conversation around women’s safety and right to public spaces changed its contours and became more positive, National Crime Records Bureau reports still point to a bleak picture, with growing numbers of incidents of kidnapping, sexual assaults on girls and women, and prevalence of social customs like dowry.

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