India has witnessed a surge in rape cases, with their number increasing more than double from 2001 to 2014, said a report released in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
The findings are part of the much awaited report on the ‘Status of Women in India’, released at the International Conference on Gender Equality at Kovalam.
The rape cases registered between 2001 and 2014 rose from 16,075 to 36,735.
Cases of cruelty against married woman too witnessed a rise, going up from 49,170 to 122,877.
“…’home’ is the first sanctuary of violence against women in the form of incest and early marriage,” said Pam Rajput, chairperson of a High-Level Committee (HLC) on the Status of Women in India.
Quoting the findings on Thursday at the inaugural day of the International Conference on Gender Equality-1 (ICGE-1) three-day conclave, Rajput said this report was an attempt to recommend policy interventions based on contemporary assessment of women’s economic, legal, political, education, health and socio-cultural needs.
The report notes that globally India ranks second-last (141 out of 142 countries) in health.
It was 40 years ago, on the eve of the foremost UN world conference of women, that the first report on the Status of women in India was submitted.
Rajput said India had one of the worst gender gaps in the world workforce participation with only 25 percent (15 percent in urban areas and the rest in rural areas).
“This can be revised only by integrating macroeconomic policy with social policy and examining the situation of underpaid women working in public services as voluntary or social workers,” said Rajput.
“Despite the economic growth and the increase in the level of education, women find it very difficult to make free choices,” said Rajput, who recalled that it was in Thiruvananthapuram while attending a conference of the National Federation of Indian Women in 1980 that she chanced upon a booklet that gave comprehensive statistics on women, inspiring her to dive headfirst into women’s studies.
The committee believes that gender architecture needs to be revisited and that there should be separate budgets for women and children.