Gender Equality Policy, GEP (Nari Gaurav Niti)
Gender Resource Center

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Gujarat has emerged as one of the country’s economically and industrially developed States due to local entrepreneurship, investor-friendly policies, quality infrastructure and backing of a responsive administration. Performance on social indicators, however, has been slower than that on economic indicators, revealing a wide gap between the status of women and men. The female literacy rate in the state is 58.6%, while the same for males is 80.5%. This is a matter of serious concern as it reflects the gender discrimination in the State including discrimination against the girl child. The female work participation rate is 28.03%, compared to 55.02% for males (Census: 2001). The same is, however, higher than men in the agriculture and the informal sector, which are unregulated in terms of wages and social security. Another area of concern is gender- based violence at home and at the work place. Most of these cases are not reported due to the attached social stigma and a patriarchal mindset. An analysis of the above situation led to the realisation that low level of education and training, low health and nutritional status, limited access to resources apart from adversely affecting a person’s quality of life also hinders the overall development of the individual, society and the state. It was against this backdrop, that the State Government felt the need for a change in the direction of its programmes so as to address these pressing social issues and eliminate gender disparities

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Nari Gaurav Niti 2006 - The State Policy for Gender Equity has been formulated by Government of Gujarat for the empowerment and development of women in the State. The guiding philosophy of the Policy is that women and men should have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities to contribute to the well being of a society as well as to exercise their rights to enjoy its benefits. The State of Gujarat envisions an empowered society that does not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or gender, a society where citizens’ needs are met, high quality of life is maintained and human rights are protected. Based on this philosophy, the Government of Gujarat decided to formulate the Gender Equity Policy in the year 2002. The lead role was taken by the Department of Women & Child Development (DWCD). The Department involved all key stakeholders including related departments, organizations and individuals with strong grass-root presence and deep insight on the issues, who contributed significantly to formulate this policy. Nine working groups were formed and a series of deliberations took place on all sectorial aspects of gender equity and equality. The approach was to promote gender equity and equality by putting gender concerns in the mainstream of the state’s overall development plan. This being a long-term process, it required creation of the right environment which can lead to requisite alterations in the unequal, patriarchal social structure. The policy stresses upon the importance of modifying them accordingly. Gender equity here implies a process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, it is essential to take measures which can compensate women for the way they have been treated historically and their socially disadvantaged position in society in order to bring everyone on a level playing field with equal opportunities and benefits regardless of gender. Gender equality implies equal benefits of socially-valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards for women and men. Gender equality does not mean that men and women become the same; but the access to opportunities and life changes is neither dependent on, nor constrained by their sex. Achieving gender equality requires women empowerment to ensure that decision-making at private and public levels and access to resources are no longer weighted in men’s favour, so that both women and men can fully participate as equals in all facets of life.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative is creative because in order to promote gender equity in various realms of life, the department not only created a dedicated policy to promote equality between genders, it followed up aggressively with all facets of the administration and ensured that this policy is brought into every line of thought. Recently a new mandate ensures that 50% reservation in administration is done for women. The impact however was huge. Because of mainstreaming of such a policy, the effects started percolating to citizens through the citizen facing departments. Ultimately the effect of this policy began to have a positive impact on public life for women in Gujarat and slowly and steadily, the policy formed the root for the initiative to promote gender quality in every sphere of public life.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The approach followed to implement this policy is listed below: 1.The state promoted inter-sectoral partnerships and coalitions between various departments, professional bodies, national and international agencies, and voluntary organizations so as to mainstream gender concerns into all programmes/schemes, capacity building and awareness generation. 2.The Government also proposed a gender analysis of proposed or existing programmes/schemes and ensured that gender issues are considered at all stages of the programme cycle, including identification, preparation, appraisal, implementation and evaluation. It also supported various departments and stakeholders in their effort to implement commitments made by the National Policy for Empowerment of Women and the state’s Gender Equity Policy. 3.Adequate resources for accelerated progress through new institutional mechanisms were mobilized. 4.Gender issues were institutionalized into capacity building programmes where refresher and in-service training were made mandatory. Disaster relief and rehabilitation measures were also addressed from the gender perspective. Women and Child Development Department, GoG is the nodal Department for monitoring and coordinating the activities and progress under the policy. The areas of action are divided in to eight key sectors which are as follows: 1. Economics Environment 2. Governance and Decision making 3. Health and Quality of Life 4. Protection of Women 5. Natural Resource Management 6. Education 7. Women Related Laws 8. Advocacy and Capacity Building All the departments prepared a detailed plan for mainstreaming gender issues in their programmes/ schemes. In order to achieve gender equity and equality in their programmes, they actively coordinated with DWCD, other departments as partners and ensured convergence wherever necessary. The department also ensured equal representation of both women and men in all departmental policy making committees and decision-making management boards as envisaged in the policy. The departments did put in efforts to create a gender-sensitive environment through a critical review to identify gender bias in existing programmes/ schemes. They implemented gender-sensitive programmes across all levels of personnel and facilitated the process of altering existing mindsets within the department. They promoted gender equity as a priority concern in the department and ensured participation of key stakeholders for strategic programme planning, implementation and evaluation. All departments conducted gender audit of programmes/ schemes to assess the effectiveness of implementation. The broad action plan intends to mainstream gender into all social, economic and development programmes in the state. Inter-departmental coordination, partnerships with all the stakeholders and other unified efforts were carried out to synergize policy implementation in the strategic areas. Individual departments did engage in advocacy initiatives on gender concerns, undertake programmes/schemes to generate interest and awareness and address gender specific needs and concerns. All departments implemented and also tracked progress of policy directives within the purview of their departmental mandates. They coordinated actively with DWCD to seek information/clarification on any matters related to the policy. DWCD with the support of Gender Resource Center developed appropriate monitoring mechanisms to track progress of implementation. Some of the individual department maintained beneficiary data base for all programs contributing towards women’s development. This would potentially mainstream gender-development indicators into program/scheme monitoring indicators to assess the gendered impact of the program.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Stakeholders involved in implementation: 1.As the Women and Child Development Department, GoG was the nodal Department for conceptualizing, compiling and preparing a draft policy, all the necessary administrative actions were taken by Women and Child Development Department under the guidance of the Hon’ble Minister, WCD. The Team involved at the Department level was: -Principal Secretary, WCDD and his team of Jt. Secretary, Section Officers and Assistant Section officers. Their main responsibility was to take up necessary approvals of the higher authorities as and when necessary during the formulation Principal Secretary, WCDD, providing necessary inputs in policy formulations and getting the final approval from the Hon’ble CM and Cabinet members -Chief Secretary of the State, provided necessary support to the department heads 2. Gender Resource centre, being a technical support body to the Government on gender issues, actual programme implementation was done by Gender Resource Centre. Director GRC carried out all the work under Principal Secretary, WCDD. The team comprised of Director GRC, Research and policy officer, Programme officer, Gender Data and documentation officer, and Admin In charge. The team was responsible for coordinating the policy formulation process under the guidance of Principal Secretary, WCDD.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Since this is a policy adopted by Government of Gujarat, resources were managed from the State Government budget. The Development of the policy involved large no. of people including senior Government Officials, heads of various NGOs, academicians, journalists, people working in social development sectors, especially on women related issues These people were divided in to various subject specific groups (details) for focused discussions and come out with a policy paper on the same. Then the papers were presented to the Minister, WCD along with a larger group of the society in a State level workshop. On the basis of the discussions and feedback the entire policy and action areas were finalized with time lines and responsible departments. The draft was then submitted to the Government authorities for approval and the final draft was then presented to the then Hon’ble C.M. along with cabinet Ministers, for approval. On the whole it was the first initiative where in such an expensive involvement of various stakeholders was ensured. People from all walks of lives who had any experience to share as far as women and development was concerned, were invited for value addition. Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc. were also consulted specifically. Apart from that, the policy document was uploaded on GRC website for wider dissemination and feedback. Each thematic area has about 15 member committee to finalize the action points and submit the policy paper. So about 150 experts and senior Government Officers intensively worked on the policy document for atleast 3 years and came out with the draft policy. As far as financial resources are concerned all the meeting and formulation of the policy related expenses were covered by the Department of GoG through WCDD. IEC and orientation/training of the stakeholders on GEP is looked after by Gender Resource Centre and expense is borne by the grant given to GRC.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Gender Equity Policy of Gujarat State has yielded desired results by mainstreaming gender in the developmental activities of the State. It has been a well coordinated exercise by various departments of the State Government. A glimpse of concrete output 1.Capacity building of rural women 2.Representation of women in local self governments and Government 3.Jobs have considerably increased 4.Participation of women in decision making 5.Participation of rural women in management of natural resources, especially water 6.Feeling of security among women through multi pronged strategy, e.g., regular programme on gender sensitization and awareness for a wide gamut of Stake holders. 7.The commitment of the State Government has brought in all the concerned departments together for achieving gender equity and equality. That is an exceptional achievement. 8.The concerned departments worked in convergence which helped in unified efforts to address women’s problems. Due to that repetitive processes were ruled out and targeted interventions took place. 9.Focus on women’s issues established its importance in state’s development agenda 10.Improvement in Human Development indicators of the State such as literacy of women, Child sex ratio, etc. 11.Empowerment of women led to their improved status in family, society and wider community level.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
For overall implementation of policy and action plan developed by the department from time to time, following institutional mechanism shall be adopted. 1.A Policy Review Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister, with the Minister of Women and Child Development and Secretaries of all the related departments as its members. It was supposed to meet on a half-yearly basis to assess the progress of policy implementation and give guidance on the way forward. Individual departments were to present their status reports focusing on gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting, gender analysis of the programmes, convergence with other departments, the progress made in proposed programmes and future plans. 2.DWCD was the nodal department for implementation of the Gender Equity Policy and it co-ordinated with all the departments and partner organizations to ensure gender mainstreaming in programmes/ schemes to achieve policy objectives. 3.The Gender Resource Centre (GRC), had been established within the ambit of DWCD with Honourable Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat as the Chairperson. GRC a)Monitor policy implementation and track progress b) Coordinate with all departments on policy implementation c) Provide support for incorporating gender equity and equality into developmental Programmes/schemes; d) Design programmes and technically backstop relevant programmes/schemes; e) Conduct gender audit to ensure gender mainstreaming and gender justice in programmes and their implementation; f) Establish a gender information network to provide need-based information to all departments and agencies; g) Conduct policy analysis as per emerging needs and concerns. h) Such technical bodies will develop appropriate software to facilitate monitoring of policy implementation. Gender Resource Centre gathered inputs on progress with respect to key sectors of the policy from the concerned departments on regular basis and the progress on implementation was reviewed by Chief Secretary himself in September 2009.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1.It was a difficult task to get input on progress from various Govt. Departments on regular basis. However, persistent efforts by Gender Resource Centre could overcome this obstacle and various Departments started providing periodical input on progress of policy. 2.Since the focus was gender equity and equality in the society, the biggest challenge was to build the mindset of the people implementing it. To bring out a meaningful policy required that the people drafting it accepted the need for gender equality and were wholeheartedly willing to put in efforts into this initiative. This hurdle was overcome by the Gender Resource Center by constantly working on building a mindset for gender equality and highlighting the poor plight of women in the society. These were major challenges which required the GRC quite some time to overcome. This is evident from the fact that it took them a couple of years to actually get this policy approved and rolled out. However, their constant efforts in this direction helped them get past these obstacles. Backing from department head was also a crucial contribution in overcoming these obstacles.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1.Gujarat has approximately 2.02 lakh Sakhi Mandals (Self Help Groups) with savings worth Rs. 301.02 crores built through Mission Mangalam (a livelihood promotion initiative) for sustained economic development of members. A provision of 45 crore has been made towards 5% interest assistance on the bank loan of 1123 crores 2.12.38 lakh registrations in the name of women, Property registration fees worth Rs. 459.95 crores exempted by Government for registration of property 3.There are 362 Mahila Samras Gram Panchayats wherein all members are women and are elected unanimously. An assistance of 13 .5 crore has already been provided to these Panchayats 4.1/3rd of the members are women in 18147 Pani Samitis across Gujarat 5.17675 Village Health and Sanitation Committees operational which have 70% women membership 6.507566 women are members of 1220 Participatory Forest Management Committees 7.2119 Women Milk Cooperatives are run with a membership of 6.37 lakh women 8.28 Mahila Police Stations and 8 Mahila Police Cells have been established for women in need 9.506 Emergency Medical Care Vans (108) are functional in the state. Till February 2013 33, 66 lakh cases were registered, out of which 11.50 were pregnancy related, 2.35 people’s lives were saved, 34754 deliveries were carried out in EMRI vans 10.50226 Anganwadi Centres have provided supplementary nutrition to 29.43 lakh children and 7.31 lakh pregnant mothers 11.To meet the needs of migrant workers and tribal people 46 Mobile Anganwadi Vans equipped with weighing scale, growth chart, pre-school education kits, medicine kits, prescribed registers have been started. 12.Establishment of 28 women Police Stations / 8 Mahila Cells in the State 13.Representative of women in the police force has considerably increased 14.State Legal Authority Cell organized Legal Camps in which 18167 women women were provided with legal guidance 15.To address the Sexual Harassment at Workplace in Government Offices, there is a State level Committee under the Chairpersonship of secretary DWCD to facilitate and monitor such cases, till January 2013 145 complaints received, 100 complaints are cleared, 45 pending 16.Nari Adalat "is from off cost effective adjudication by women for women and of the Woman. In the milestone development programme the State Government decided to extend Nari Adalat to entire state. There are 102 Nari Adalat has been operationalized in The State. 17.Women help line "Abhayam" 181 has been started in Ahmedabad, Surat city and Gandhinagar District to rescue those women who caught herself in difficult situation in F.Y 2012-13 18. “The police station based Support Centers” for Women in Gujarat is a new initiative aimed at providing short term/long term counseling and guidance to the needy women – victims of especially domestic violence and those family problems 19.Gender Resource Centre conducts gender sensitization programmes for the police officers in various districts of the State to transform mindset of lower and middle rung police staff on grievances of the women. In these programmes the police personnel are sensitized to deal with aggrieved women who happen to approach a police station in connection with different forms of violence.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Being a State level initiative, it is a constant and sustained process to achieve empowerment of women of the State. The first policy document, approved in August 2006, had action plans for 8 key sectors till 2010. Since most of the actionable points have been achieved, the process of reformulating the action plans has to be initiated. The process would be initiated in collaboration with all the stakeholders. It has also been desired by various stakeholders that with changing times, new challenges for women have also been emerging and to address these challenges various new sectors must be included in the policy document along with the action plans to address the same. All the above mentioned points indicate that the Nari Gaurav Niti (GEP) is a constant process and would contribute to the well being of women of Gujarat. It focuses on convergence of efforts of various agencies and Department for achieving women’s empowerment. As far as replicability or possibility of transferring the initiative is concerned, GEP is a model that can be replicated by any Government for improving the lives of women of their state/Nation.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Women and Child Development Department being the nodal department ensured proper coordination and co-operation by different Government Departments have resulted into setting a robust system for analysis of developmental activities through gender lens. However, it is indeed a Herculean task to create a gender just society by transforming the patriarchal form of society and therefore, a need is felt to launch a vigorous campaign for gender sensitization of all the citizens. In order to bring about such a transformational policy in governance, it is essential to ensure that the people involved in implementation are sensitized to the need for gender equality. This was also one of the biggest hurdles of implementation. Gender equality in society can be achieved if the decision makers make a conscious effort to include it as a part of day to day administration.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gender Resource Center
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Dinesh Kapadia
Title:   Director, GRC  
Telephone/ Fax:   09978441503
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   info@grcgujarat.org  
Address:   Gender Resource Center,Block no. 1, Polytechnic Campus, Ambavadi
Postal Code:   380015
City:   Ahmedabad
State/Province:   Gujarat
Country:  

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