Commitment to Women’s Empowerment

New leadership brings promising changes for women’s empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir
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Over the last two years, the government in Jammu and Kashmir has been actively pushing for policies and initiatives aimed at empowering women in the region.

From providing skill development training to promoting women’s entrepreneurship, there has been a concerted effort to bridge the gender gap and create a more inclusive society.

The government has also been working towards improving the security situation for women by strengthening the law-and-order machinery and increasing police patrolling in vulnerable areas.

The focus on women’s empowerment is not just limited to urban areas but extends to rural areas as well, where women often face greater social and economic challenges. While there is still a long way to go, the recent measures taken by the government in Jammu and Kashmir have given hope for a brighter future for women in the region.

The issue of women’s rights and their empowerment has always been a burning topic in India, especially in places like Jammu and Kashmir where women have always been at the receiving end of the Kashmir's strife, facing severe restrictions and obstacles to their education, health, and economic opportunities.

However, the situation is changing rapidly, due to the efforts of the leadership of Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir as well as a deliberate and positive approach of the Union Government towards the region.

A long history of violence, terrorism, and separatism has severely impacted the lives of women in the region, who face various forms of discrimination, violence, and harassment. They have faced multiple challenges, including limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, restrictions on their mobility, and exposure to gender-based violence and abuse.

According to the latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau, Jammu and Kashmir women have suffered various crimes, including rape, molestation, and domestic violence. The report also highlights the low rate of society’s intervention in such cases, which further exacerbates the problem.

Despite these challenges, women in Jammu and Kashmir have shown remarkable resilience and courage in overcoming the obstacles to their empowerment.

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in women’s participation in various fields, including politics, education, and entrepreneurship. Women in Jammu and Kashmir have also formed self-help groups and cooperatives, which have helped them to access credit and to market their products.

It would be unjust not to mention the role played by Manoj Sinha, in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the region. Sinha, who took charge as the Lieutenant Governor of J&K in August 2020, has focused on several initiatives aimed at improving the lives of women in Jammu and Kashmir. Manoj Sinha, has the ability to provide guidance and care similar to that of elders from past generations. This melts our hearts.

The “J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission,” aims to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment among women in rural areas. Under this initiative, women in Jammu and Kashmir are being trained in various skills, including handicrafts, tailoring, and food processing. They are provided seed capital and marketing support to start their own businesses.

Manoj Sinha has also focused on improving women’s access to education in Jammu and Kashmir. In December 2020, he launched the “Super 75 Scholarship Scheme,” which aims to provide free coaching to underprivileged students, including girls, for competitive exams.

The scheme covers students from all districts of Jammu and Kashmir and is expected to benefit over 4,000 students. Keeping in view the year’s theme of International Women’s Day i.e “Choose to Challenge” and to celebrate Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav- India@75, the Lt Governor announced the launch of Super- 75 scholarship scheme to support the education of meritorious girls belonging to poor families, so that they can excel in all streams.

The Sakhi One-Stop Center provides essential services and support to women, who are victims of violence and abuse and “Mission Youth” initiative, that aims to engage and empower the youth, including women in the decision-making process, Mr Sinha has left no stone unturned for the empowerment of youth and women in Jammu and Kashmir.

In addition to these initiatives, Manoj Sinha has also emphasised the need for gender sensitisation and awareness in Jammu and Kashmir. He has sensitised young boys and men on gender equality and women rights to create a more inclusive and safe society.

The impact of Manoj Sinha’s initiatives on women’s empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir has been significant. The “J&K Rural Livelihoods Mission” has helped to create over 2,000 women entrepreneurs in the region, providing them with a sustainable source of income and economic independence.

The “Super 75 Scholarship Scheme” has helped to increase the number of girls attending coaching classes, leading to a significant improvement in their academic performance. The “Sakhi One-Stop Center” has provided crucial support to women who have faced violence and abuse, helping them to access the justice and support they need.

The efforts of Manoj Sinha need to be sustained and expanded to ensure that women in Jammu and Kashmir have equal access to opportunities and are empowered to lead fulfilling lives. A society that respects and values its women is a society that thrives and prospers. The leadership of Manoj Sinha is welcome step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is pertinent to mention some examples which we all have seen in the backdrop of appointments of women to the top posts. Be it the appointment of woman Vice Chancellor in Kashmir University, Woman Secretary in Sports Council, election of Woman Chairperson in JK Haj Committee, and other positions is a crucial step towards gender equality and inclusivity in the region.

The appointment of women in the top positions is seen as a ground-breaking move that challenges the traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have dominated the region.

These appointments reflect a changing mind-set and a commitment towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir. Women in these positions can serve as role models and inspire other women to break free from traditional gender roles and stereotypes and pursue their aspirations.

However, there is still a long way to go towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite these appointments, women in the region still face several challenges, including limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, and exposure to gender-based violence and abuse. But there is justified hope.

Therefore, it is essential to sustain and expand the efforts towards women’s empowerment and gender equality in the region. The leadership of Manoj Sinha and the government is crucial in this regard, and their commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality needs to be reinforced and continued.

Safina Baig is chairperson District Development Council and Chairperson J&K Haj Committee. She can be reached at:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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