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Ability to exercise the rights by Women has increased even in families : UN


25 Jul, a report published by United Nations namely “Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World”. The report was launched by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is the is Under-Secretary-General of United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women.

The report though recognising the importance of family system, it also raised concern that it undermine the women’s rights and the women voice.

The report is about gender equality and development.

“Implementing the family-friendly policy agenda outlined in this Report has the potential to create synergies and unlock progress across generations, both on gender equality and on sustainable development more broadly. In order to tailor and apply this agenda to national and local contexts, policy-makers need to understand how gendered power relations enable or constrain women’s rights in families; and recognize the diverse and changing nature of family forms.”

In the report it is said that, 17.8 percent women facing violence across the globe and, this report also sites home as insecure place, as:

“Families can be sites of profound insecurity for women and girls, since the home is the place where they are most likely to face violence and abuse. Globally, 17.8 per cent of women report experiencing physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner within the last 12 months.”

In the report, it has said that, women are now able to exercise their rights and able to raise voice within the family, which is the result of demographic changes and education to women’s and girl’s.

“Today, there are many indications that women are increasingly able to exercise agency and voice within their families. These include the rising age of marriage; greater social and legal recognition of a diversity of partnership forms; declines in birth rates as women are better able to choose whether and when to have children, and how many; and women’s increased economic autonomy. These transformations are both causes and consequences of large-scale demographic changes, dramatic shifts in women’s and girls’ access to education and employment, ideational and normative changes, and legal reform, often driven and inspired by women’s activism.”

The reported pointed that, supporters of “family values” has put their Concerted efforts to deny the rights of the women and their decisions, as:

“Concerted efforts to roll back the achievements of many decades of work for gender equality, by those who deny women the right to make their own decisions, have recently been cloaked in the rhetoric of ‘family values’.
In reality, the proponents of these views have not only sought to undermine women’s rights, but have simultaneously adopted policies that erode the conditions that enable families and their members to thrive.”

The report referring “Sustainable Development Goals” to ensure “families are places of equality and are free from discrimination” as:

“Meeting SDG 5, gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, for example,
-demands the elimination of violence and an end to harmful practices;
-ensuring women have access to economic resources, including through equal inheritance rights and equality in family laws; and
-promoting shared responsibility for the provision of unpaid care and domestic work, which falls disproportionately on women’s shoulders.”

It also refere various other SDGs as:

  • “To ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all’ (SDG 3), women need access to reproductive healthcare and family planning”;
  • “to ‘Ensure inclusiveand equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ (SDG 4), girls must be able to delay marriage and complete their schooling”;
  • “to ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’ (SDG 8), family-friendly policies and workplace regulations must be in place, including those that enable women and men to combine care giving with paid work.”

The United Nations In India website said, report also published the trends which were observed as:

  • “the age of marriage has increased in all regions, while birth rates have declined, and women have increased economic autonomy”;
  • “Globally, a little over one third (38 per cent) of households are couples living with children; and extended families (including other relatives) are almost as common (27 per cent)”;
  • “The vast majority of lone-parent families, which are 8 per cent of households, are led by women, often juggling paid work, child-rearing and unpaid domestic work. Same-sex families are increasingly visible in all regions.”

It also talks about the criminalisation of rape within the marriage:

“As the report shows, families can be places of care, but can also bring conflict, inequality and, far too often, violence. Today, three billion women and girls live in countries where rape within marriage is not explicitly criminalized.”

Some of the recommendations which includes:

• “Amending and reforming family laws to ensure that women can choose whether, when and who to marry; that provide the possibility of divorce if needed; and enable women’s access to family resources.”
• “Recognizing diverse partnership forms, to protect women’s rights in both cohabiting and same sex partnerships.”
• “Investing in public services, especially education and reproductive healthcare, so that women’s and girls’ life choices are expanded, and they can make informed choices about sex and childbearing.”
• “Paid parental leave, and State support for the care of children and older persons, must be considered in crafting comprehensive social protection systems that can help to sustain families.”
• “Ensuring women’s physical safety by implementing laws and policies to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and providing access to justice and support services for survivors of violence.”

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