Make father's name an optional requirement for passports: Maneka Gandhi
Maneka Gandhi, the Women and child development minister requested external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to alter passport laws where listing the father's name is a mandatory requirement. Her appeal came after a single mother from Delhi, Priyanka Gupta started a petition on change.org to drop the father's name in her daughter's passport. The father had abandoned them. Over 45,000 people have supported Priyanka's cause.
2001 National Policy for Women Empowerment introduced
The HRD Ministry and the Women & Child Development Ministry unveiled the National Policy for Women Empowerment in Aug 2001. It aimed to bring about advancement, development and empowerment of Women in India. It was widely disseminated so as to encourage active participation of all stakeholders involved. A proposal was made to setup National and State Councils to ensure the implementation of the policy.
Features of the 2001 Policy
The policy addressed development of women by creating a positive environment through economic and social policies. Its objectives included equal access to participation, decision-making and social sector needs. It addressed the major difficulties that women had been facing for more than two decades: domestic violence, rape and employment. It also talked about strengthening legal systems to eliminate any type of discrimination against women.
Maneka Gandhi unveils National Policy for Women 2016
Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi unveiled the National Policy for Women to address women's issues in India for the next 15-20 years. The policy addresses the challenges faced by women by assuring protection to surrogate mothers, promoting gender equality in higher education and protection against cyber crime. It also talks about promoting female participation in the legislature, judiciary and executive.
Change in women's attitude over the years
"The most important part of the policy is that it shifted from 'just welfare' to 'welfare with heavy dose of rights' in it which is reflective of change in women's attitude" - Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development
Features of the new 2016 Policy
The policy seeks to improve conditions for women in the country by focusing on higher education for girls and equal participation in social, political and economic activities. It seeks to make improvement in employment opportunities for career oriented women. The policy also addresses the growth in crimes against women i.e. rape, domestic violence and gender inequality and enumerates measures to resolve these problems.
India fares poorly in gender inequality index
The 2015 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme says that India ranks 130 out of 155 countries, way behind Bangladesh (111) and Pakistan (121) in the Gender Inequality Index for 2014.
WCD ministry takes on cyber trolls
The Women and Child Development Ministry has now initiated steps to tackle the menace of online "trolling" and cyber bullying of women. Inviting to women to come forward with information about the same, Maneka Gandhi tweeted "are you a woman who is trolled or abused? Inform me at email@example.com." The ministry has directed the NCW to monitor instances of trolling against women.