NSCW launches fortnight observation on ending gender-based violence

NSCW launches fortnight observation  on ending gender-based violence
Social Welfare Secretary, Sarah R Ritse with NSCW chairperson Dr Temsula Ao and others during the launching of fortnight observation on ending gender-based violence at NSCW office on November 24
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Kohima, November 24: With an object to create awareness to stop all forms of violence against women, the Nagaland State Commission for Women (NSCW) today launched the Fortnight Observation on elimination of violence against women.
“Gender based violence is posing as a great hindrance in achieving gender equality as it has no geographical, social or cultural boundaries,” said Sarah R Ritse Secretary to the government of Nagaland for Social Welfare Department while addressing the launching programme of the 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence” at the Commission’s office in Bayavü Hill here.
Nagaland is considered one of the safest state for women, yet we see that number of crimes against women is on the rise, she said adding that gender-based violence is manifested in the form of rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, eve teasing and even through cybercrime.
She also highlighted the special legislation on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 which aims to ensure safe working spaces for women and to build enabling work environment that respects women’s right to equality of status and opportunity irrespective of age or work status.
Any working women in the organized or unorganized sector, private or government can file a complaint if you face harassment of any kind,” she said.
Mentioning some of the significant initiatives taken by the Department of Social Welfare to cater to women affected by violence, she said it is implement schemes supported by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which include Women Helpline 181, Sakhi – one stop centre Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programmes in the State.
Ritse urged the general public not to tolerate any form of violence against women, but to report it to the authorities.
She also opined that it is a collective responsibility of both men and women, organizations, educational institutions, religious institutions to come together and address this burning issue. “It is time we collectively address the root cause of gender based violence that is deep rotted in the society where most women still feel that they are not treated equal to men,” she said.
Speaking on the topic “Customary Law and Gender”, Chairperson of NSCW, Dr Temsula Ao said “redefining customary law must begin from within the patriarchal set-up who are the custodians of the laws, because the fundamental discriminations against women are enshrined in these very laws.
She was of the opinion that in Nagaland context the two important areas where the ‘redefining of these laws most required are: women’s acceptance into village councils, town committees and the legislative Assembly and equal inheritance to be given to women and girls from the parental property.
The process of dialogue with men, the custodians of Naga customary laws is still at a very tentative and nascent stage, she said adding that NSCW has initiated such a dialogue with the apex bodies of all the tribes in order to facilitate the process of giving the women shares in the parental property.
“Our approach is one of dialogue and not confrontation; we do not want to challenge or upset the customary laws which form the bed-rock of Naga society,” she said. At the same time, she said that the modern Naga man is an enlightened one and even before these envisaged changes to the laws have been formulated and legislated, many Naga fathers have started making provisions in their wills which ensure inheritance for daughters and widows.
She said that Naga customary cannot be done away with as it is the identity of Naga people but within that identity the rights of Naga women has to be protected.
In fact, she said, Naga men have on their own volition have started the process of redefining customary law, which augurs well for Naga society, Dr Ao quipped.
During the 16 days, NSCW through the apex tribal women bodies in the state would be carrying out various activism including distribution on pamphlets and also dedicate to advocacy and coordination of work in support of ending violence against women.
The theme of the fortnight observation is “End Gender-based violence in the world of Work”.
NSCW Member Kakheli Jakhalu chaired the launching programme. (Page News Service)