In its report on the implementation of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action 20 years after the historic World Women's conference in 1995, India has admitted that deep rooted gender inequalities continue to undermine the country’s potential to translate economic growth into inclusive development.
In the report of the goals set at Beijing under a review process recently, India said the gender based inequalities for instance in education, income and employment, limit the ability to protect women's health. This lack of power of women in most cultural settings also impacts nutritional intake and health status of women and girls. Along with the policy initiatives a lot needs to be done to realise the policy measures on ground.
However, on the issue of women and armed conflict, the report said the Indian government maintains that there is no armed conflict within the country.
The report along with those from others countries of the Asia Pacific region will be discussed at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (ESCAP) Asian and Pacific conference on gender equality and women's empowerment: Beijing plus 20 review which will begin here on Monday. Faced in reality with mounting problems on women's health specially after the recent sterilisation deaths, the government also accepted that certain critical areas of concern like tackling the burden of poverty, unequal access to primary health care, under nutrition, high rates of illiteracy and lack of training, lack of access to and control over assets and resources, inequalities in sharing of power and decision making require immediate attention in order to ensure equality and practical realisation of rights for women.
Government representatives and civil society members will discuss the reports for four days in the run up to 20 years of the Beijing conference next year.
Addressing the media, Ms Paul said thst the review process called on governments to report on what steps they had taken in the last 20 years on thier commitments to the 12 main points identified in Beijing in '95 . While there are many gains in the region, governments have indicated that there are lapses in implementation of laws and in addressing violence against women which is still a pandemic. Women were finding it tough to be part of the labour force, still dying during childbirth and were low in political participation, she said.
Roberta Clarke, regional director, UN Women, said that many of the governments have laws to tackle domestic violence but they remain under implemented. The 12 critical areas identified in Beijing in 1995 included ending poverty, violence, ensuring rights to the girl child, gender budgeting, ensuring political participation, among key areas.