Women in the Informal Sector: A Saga of Constraints and Vulnerabilities

The advent of globalization and marketization has resulted in an emergent trend towards the ‘informalisation’ of the labor market. Policymakers have identified the income-generation potential and the significance of the informal sector as a source of jobs in adverse economic crises. However, the phenomena of globalization and the work sphere cannot be disassociated from their gendered power relations. Developing countries like India, with a concomitant rise in informal employment, reveal an increasing number of women joining this sector, but mostly remaining “invisible” as they continue to work in low paid, low-status jobs in the informal sector; jobs which do not have any possibilities of betterment”. Studies suggest that 94% of women are a part of the informal sector, out of which approximately 50% perform functions in addition to their productive roles. These women are further confronted with constraints by their engendered role, wherein they’re additionally burdened with domestic responsibilities. Social connotations like these significantly contribute to the overall conceptualization of economic development.  (more…)

Rehabilitation of Women and Girls during the Pandemic

Information about the issue:

On 31st August 2020, an SC order sought to clear the slums around railway tracks in Delhi within three months, without any policy for rehabilitation. As concerns were being raised on the procedure to be followed in this regard, in another order dated 14th September, 2020, the Court instructed the authorities to devise a proper policy for the rehabilitation of the affected population before their eviction from the current place of residence. The SC however, did not recognize the fact that the brunt of unplanned eviction exercises has been found especially disadvantageous for women and girls.  (more…)

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020: A Progressive Starting Point with Enough Room for Change

By Anushka Gutte, Research Associate, Policy

On March 17, 2020 the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha through a voice vote. The Bill seeks to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 by primarily proposing four changes. The Bill comes at a time when unsafe abortion is the third-leading cause of maternal mortality in India and a number of petitions have been made to amend the Act. (more…)

Bride Trafficking: Policy Interventions for an Under-Reported Plague

Bride trafficking is the illegal industry of purchasing brides as a property for due consideration. Organized traffickers sell girls and women as brides who are conned into a life of abuse, exploitation and slavery. Be it Haryana, Assam or Rajasthan, the Indian “Bride Bazaar” predominantly flourishes in parts of the country where the sex ratio is abysmally low and poverty stricken families are reluctant to spend on the dowry and marriage of their daughters. Unfortunately, there are no significant laws and policies to wrestle bride trafficking and its accompanying human rights violations in India. (more…)

Legal Journey of Section 377- A Relentless Battle of Expression and Recognition

By Abhiudaya Verma, Research Associate, Policy

The legal fight in Singapore against Section 377A of Singapore Penal Code, which can be called a close counterpart of the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), is set to go further. On March 30th, 2020 the High Court of Singapore dismissed the plea to declare section 377A of Singapore Penal Code as unconstitutional. While upholding the law that criminalises homosexual activities between males in Singapore, the country’s Supreme Court judge also made few remarks in the Indian context saying ” I am unable to agree with the reasoning of the Indian Supreme Court given that the court appeared to have accepted a wider meaning of what constitutes “expression”, extending beyond verbal communication of ideas, opinions or beliefs”. The Indian Supreme Court on 6th September, 2018 ‘read down’ Section 377 of the IPC, making consensual sexual activity between adults no longer a criminal offence, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. For a country like India where public decency and morality plays a major role in deciding judgements, it was a fairly long and tough legal battle for arriving at this historic judgement. We have tried to trace the origins and the path that this legal battle took against Section 377 by enlisting a brief  history of its legal journey. (more…)

Right to Menstrual Health in India: From an Outdated Period Drama to Actionable Rights & Policies

The lack of constructive community dialogue in place proves to be the paramount reason behind the barrier in ensuring menstrual health. Giving menstrual health the precedence of a medical concern may prove to be a more tactical approach to the problem. However, in order to do so there is a pressing need for a safe space to be created for it to be socially addressed. This social mobilization may occur through interpersonal communication put in order by schools and communities which help girls in accepting menstruation as a natural process. (more…)

Sexuality Education in India: Curriculum in the Sheets, Silence in the Streets

Given the exponential level of population growth, and the fact that India is a developing nation with limited resources, there is an imminent need to reduce the population explosion. One way to go about it is by family planning. Another more effective way of going about it is by educating children about the various methods of contraceptives, reproductive health, and the consequences of sex.

(more…)

Disha Bill, 2019: Deterrence for Sexual Offenders?

By Yash Jain, WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata

Awakened by the heinous and brutal rape in the outskirts of Hyderabad that shook the entire country and made the legislatures realize the need for strict and stringent laws for the punishment of rape and other sexual offences, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the Disha Bill, 2019. The Bill, derives its name from the given name to the victim, a veterinary doctor who was raped and murdered in the incident. Also known as the AP Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2019, this Bill seeks to amend the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, for ‘heinous offences of rape’ and the Indian Penal Code, 1860, to strengthen the provisions relating to crimes against women and children. 

(more…)

One Stop Centres: A well intentioned Scheme gone awry?

By Ria Goyal, Ambedkar University, Delhi.

The One Stop Centre Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. One Stop Centres set up under this initiative  are to be funded from the INR 1000 Crore Nirbhaya Fund which was set up in 2013 to fund various schemes related to women’s safety. These OSCs are meant to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof, to women who have experienced violence in the public or private spheres like family, community or workspace. The violence can be of any kind, including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse, and women are to be provided integrated support regardless of their age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture. Such support includes access to a range of services like medical, legal, psychological and counseling support. Further, women facing violence in the form of attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honor related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting, who approach the OSC, are entitled to the provision of specialized services. (more…)