KOHIMA, SEPTEMBER 2: Nagaland Government has set the target of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls in the State through socio-economic empowerment and livelihood activities, according to a Vision document of the State administration.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio recently unveiled the “Nagaland SDG Vision 2030 – Leaving no one behind”. It provides short, medium and long term strategies to achieve 17 sustainable development goals (SDG), including ‘Gender Equality’.
Even as the female literacy rate in Nagaland is 76.11%, only 44.74% of the female population participates in the workforce as compared to the national average rate of 53.26%, stated the document.
Hence, the State Government plans to improve the socio-economic status of women as well as provide support services to the mainstream and balance the gender divide, uplift women and facilitate their self-dependency.
Maintaining that there is a low representation of women in policy making, the document stated that a high potential for women being involved in decision-making at policy level exists, for the inclusive and equitable welfare of the State.
Encouraging women to be a part of the leadership and policy-level discourse will further build a gender equitable society, it said.
The document viewed that many women lack detailed understanding of their own rights and their capabilities while, at the same time, societal norms hinder girls’ empowerment.
It suggested that educational institutions need to be encouraged to conduct programmes on women’s rights and empowerment while school curriculum should ideally include related topics.
This will create greater awareness from a young age among students who can then be change makers in the future, advocating for gender equality, it said.
Sensitisation of policy makers, administrators, enforcers and arbitrators of justice needs to be encouraged as it will prepare stakeholders to rise to the challenge of the promotion of gender equality and to treat men and women as equal partners, it said.
The vision document stated that economic empowerment of women raises the status of women both economically and socially, however in Nagaland, customary laws on inheritance create gender disparity in the structure of assets ownership limiting women from using land as input for production or for use as collateral for credit.
Beside imbalance in wages, a lack of gender responsive infrastructure, keeping in mind women’s needs as well, hinders enhanced productivity, the document maintained.
Therefore, the Government while planning to enhance the economic empowerment of women, has proposed the following strategies to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls in the State:
Enhancing Economic Empowerment of Women: Along with enabling and encouraging women to develop their skills, marketplaces which are gender balanced and gender responsive will help uplift women and allow a greater reach of their products and services.
MYKI Bazaars: MYKI Bazaars are proposed to be located at the centre of the cluster of villages under one Block or Block level where feasibility is high. The Department of Women Resource Development intends to set up MYKI Bazaars in all the districts of Nagaland in different phases. To make MYKI Bazaar functional, the following 2-pronged strategy will be followed:
Infrastructure level: Identification of existing/abandoned marketing shed constructed by any other agency/Department in the proposed area; Initiation of an MoU with the concerned agency/Department; Repair and renovations of the marketing-shed.
Operational Level: Identification of the existing SHGs, societies or NGOs in the proposed area/block; Orientation and sensitisation of the identified SHGs, societies and NGOs; Injection of essential seed money into the SHGS
Leverage MYKI Fest: Started in 2018, MYKI Fest is an annual event to celebrate the activities and achievements of women entrepreneurs, artisans, artists, cultivators and SHGs. It aims to showcase their achievements, products and activities, explore more market linkages within and outside the State interaction and exchange of ideas and concepts amongst the entrepreneurs, facilitate enterprise to enterprise cooperation and help women entrepreneurs get greater exposure to regional and other business environments and opportunities. The Government will continue to organise this event annually with more inclusiveness and coverage. By 2030, it is expected that around 15,000 school dropout girls, young women, women farmers and entrepreneurs would have already availed or benefitted from the programme.
Establish MYKI e-Bazaars: As part of the Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, the Department of Women Resources Development proposes to launch a direct online marketing platform, MYKI e-Bazaars with the main centre located at the Department of Women Resource Development. MYKI e-Bazaar is proposed to be an online marketing platform to support women entrepreneurs, artisans, cultivators, SHGs and NGOs particularly those who have innovative products but are not internet or computer savvy. Beside promotion, showcasing and selling of products, it will help facilitate marketing linkages.
Mission Effloresce: To meet the needs of potential rural women entrepreneurs to be able to take an active part in entrepreneurial activities and to start developing their own ventures to expand their already existing business or to function as social entrepreneurs, the Department of Social Welfare is focussing on ‘Mission Effloresce’. The aim of this project is for empowerment of rural women by development of skills and entrepreneurship to enhance productivity.
The project activities would be executed in 3 phases for successful implementation of the programme:
Phase-1: Putting in place a project implementing team. Formation, orientation and training activities which will include: planning and preparation of training design and training calendar, training of trainers, identification and mobilisation of target women. Vocational and skill development training, both classroom and practical, for selected members.
Phase-2: Training on product range, quality control, pricing and packaging. Market testing of new products, building market linkages and establishment of micro enterprises at community level for self-employability. Formation of a network or cluster of women entrepreneurs producing similar products for bulk production and marketing, provision of returnable interest free loan as start-up capital for new ventures. Establishing linkages with line Government for facilitating technical and financial support to would-be entrepreneurs.
Phase-3: Introduction of simple technology, tools and equipment to reduce work drudgery and accelerate production. Formation of women entrepreneur cooperatives. With success, activities would be intensified with resource development activities as according to the need of the activity and demand from the market.
One Stop Centre for Women: These centres established in all the districts will contribute to the overall safety and security of women in the state. Special cells to tackle domestic violence cases will be established and awareness-building efforts will be made. The Women Helpline 181 will be integrated to support victims of violence, both mental and physical.
Facilitate Gender Responsiveness: In order to have gender responsiveness and allow for women’s upliftment, the State machinery aims to incorporate the following:
Gender Sensitive Governance: The process governance must be inclusive and participatory. Gender sensitive governance requires that policies and legislation should address the differing needs, interests, priorities and responsibilities of women and men. Equal opportunities should be extended to both men and women for employment, leadership and decision making at all levels. All citizens must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation by 2025.
(Page News Service)