Kerala government floats new policy to empower women

February 12th, 2009 - 2:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Palakkad (Kerala) Feb 12 (IANS) The Kerala cabinet has approved the adoption of a new policy to ensure gender equality and prevent crime against women, Pinarayi Vijayan, state secretary of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said here Thursday.
Vijayan, who is on a tour of the state, told reporters that the main objective of floating the new policy was to ensure social justice for women.

“Our goals can be achieved because Kerala is far ahead of other parts of the country with regards to women’s literacy and life expectancy,” said Vijayan.

A gender board that was earlier set up by the government will help implement the policy that the cabinet approved Wednesday.

Under the policy, the board will set up a few model villages where there will be “no atrocities on women”. Crimes against women will be tackled by vigilance committees that have already begun functioning in over 800 of the state’s 1,200 villages.

The government also wants to increase the percentage of women in employment and ensure that women are paid the same wages as their male colleagues.

Gender budgeting is another part of the policy, which will be reflected in the state budget that would be presented on Feb 20 by Finance Minister Thomas Isaac. Funds will be earmarked specifically for programmes to empower women.

Kerala has one of the best sex ratios in the country at 1,000 men to 1,058 women. The national ratio is 1,000 men to 933 women. The average life expectancy of Kerala women is 76 years, while the national average is 61.8 years.

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