Women in Decision making by Dr. Vibhuti Patel

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Women in Decision Making …

Women in Decision Making
by
Dr. Vibhuti Patel, DIRECTOR, P.G.S. R.
Prof. & HOD, University Department of Economics,
SNDT Women’s University, Smt. Nathibai Thakersey Road,Chuchgate, Mumbai-400020
Phone-26770227®, 22031879 Ext. 243(O) Mobile-9321040048
E mail: vibhuti.np@gmail.com
(Presented at Refresher Course on Women’s Studies organized by
Academic Staff College of University of Gauhati, Guwahati, Assam on 1-7-06)

Factors Affecting Decision-making by Women
Poverty, lack of access to basic resources, lack of access to political party lists, low salaries, and discrimination in the workplace are considered as root causes of women's under-representation in economic and political decision-making. If women have to be concerned with survival, there is little time left for assuming positions of leadership and economic power. Recognition of women’s unpaid work and the need for sharing of family and household responsibilities, along with training in non-traditional skills, are key factors to help explain why so few women worldwide have actual decision-making power in the households, community and economy

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  • 1. Women in Decision Making A presentation By Dr. Vibhuti Patel Director, PGSR Professor and Head P.G. Department of Economics, S.N. D. T. Women’s University, Mumbai E mail: Vibhuti.np@ gmail.com Mobile- 9321040048 Phone-91-022-27770227
  • 2. Factors Affecting Decision-making by Women
    • Poverty, lack of access to basic resources, lack of access to political party lists, low salaries, and discrimination in the workplace are considered as root causes of women's under-representation in economic and political decision-making.
    • If women have to be concerned with survival, there is little time left for assuming positions of leadership and economic power.
    • Recognition of women’s unpaid work and the need for sharing of family and household responsibilities, along with training in non-traditional skills, are key factors to help explain why so few women worldwide have actual decision-making power in the households, community and economy.
  • 3. Role of Voluntary Organizations, Self-help Groups
    • Women's participation in preventive diplomacy and negotiations at the peace table were considered to be essential to achieving peace and development and for diverting military expenditures for peaceful purposes.
    • It was suggested that decision-making processes, involving both women and men, including in situations of intrastate conflict, could help to create a more peaceful approach.
    • The importance of creating national machineries, inter-ministerial bodies, national committees and women's bureaus to ensure women's equal participation in all aspects of decision-making, with adequate levels of staffing and funding, and located at the center of political power, was cited as critical.
  • 4. Legislation for Women’s Entitlements, Protection of Property Rights and Social Security.
    • In 1994, the 73rd and 74th Constitutonal Amenadments brought 10 lakh women as elected representatives in the local self government bodies due to reservation of seats for women in the village councils, tehsil councils and district councils as well as municipal councils and corporations.
    • Eleven years of governance has made them confident to deal with public economics, area development agenda and gender audit of budgets.
    • Quotas and targets in jobs, legislatures and political parties are suggested as necessary to accelerate the equal representation of women in all areas of governance.
  • 5. Schemes for Safety-net for Women .
    • Policies for access- include access to employment, education, training, credit etc.
    • Policies to improve the quality of employment, including her position in the household.
    • Policies to preserve employment and to protect material and human resources and assets
  • 6. Proper Implementation of Laws, Schemes
    • The existing labour legislation, i.e. the Industrial Disputes Act, the Factories Act, the E.S.I.S. Act and the Minimum Wages Act, should not be withdrawn but strengthened to cover all workers.
    • Some mechanism is required to evaluate the value of work under ERA.
    • Minimum wages need to be strictly implemented with ward level committees of workers.
    • Employment Guarantee Scheme-The central and state government has to ensure macro policies that will absorb workers in labour intensive units and occupations. The Employment Guarantee Scheme needs to be expanded and improved for urban workers. The focus of such employment schemes can be on building infrastructure, slum development and housing. The National Renewal Fund should be extended to cover the unorganised sector and a substantial part should go into the retraining of workers.
  • 7. Self Help Group Movement
    • Self Help Groups are organisations of women from the downtrodden section of the society that empower the women to be self reliant through capacity and confidence building and by making micro-credit available and accessible to women. The SHG movement has taught women the value of saving and the strength of working as a group.
    • Some of the problems faced by the movement are:
    • Weak groups being formed.
    • Delay in gradation of groups by banks
    • Subsidy seekers have ruined the programme.
    • Implementation by raw NGOs – need for their training.
    • Regarding bank credit to `defaulters’
    • Insensitivity of bankers
    • Delays in release of money by District Rural Development Authorities
    • Group activity does not take place
    • All members may not take up economic activities
  • 8. Property and Land Rights
    • Testamentary powers that deny the daughters their property rights should be restricted
    • Allow daughters full right of residence in the parental dwelling houses.
    • Women must be given ‘the right to residence’ hence putting private household property in the joint names of partners. A care however has to be taken that wherever women have property in their name, men did not appropriate under the pretext of property being in joint name.
  • 9. Social Structure and Social Security of Women - Entitlements, Access to Control Over Economic Resources, Ensuring Economic Independence and Risk Coverage.
    • Women can be empowered by providing economic rights at workplace, through the SHG movement and through giving property rights and land reforms to ensure land rights to women.
    • Women in order to empower themselves must be familiar with banking operations like opening and managing their own accounts. Women should be issued bills in their names.  
    • Women with income below taxable limit should be exempted from paying stamp duties. Tax benefits should be extended to women who were only earners in a household. This would be a part of affirmative action for women.
    • No aspect of economic life is gender neutral. Therefore, every ministry at the Centre and State levels must have a women’s division and it should be involved in all decision-making processes like planning, budgeting, implementing and monitoring.
    • Women and child development department must be separated. This would help break the stereotype that women alone were responsible for children.
    • And above all, there is a need to provide training and capacity building workshops for decision-makers in the government structures, village councils, parliamentarians and audio-visual media
  • 10. Role of Kinship in Allocation of Domestic and Social Resources
    • Kinship networks play predominant role in determining age, gender, location-based division of rights and responsibilities, autonomy and control, restrictions and liberties allocated to women.
    • Hence, to change the mindset of communities become a major task to enhance decision-making power of women through investments in social infrastructures such as education, skill development, public health and sanitation, environmental and occupational safety.
  • 11. Power of Decision-Making at Household Levels, Class and Community Level
    • . The most difficult areas have been providing educational opportunities for the poverty groups, low -cost housing, environmental and occupational safety and human rights concerns.
    • Development thinkers and workers need safety nets to operate without pressure from the local bullies and vested interests.
    • Bullies of each and every communities are increasingly taking advantage of development workers/teachers/ academicians because they are non-hierarchical in their functioning and also because they are not commercial minded in their day-to-day affairs.
    • When individual women activists sense threat/pressure in advance, they do change their accommodation and jobs.
  • 12. Thank you
    • Women United Will Never be Defeated