Essay Paper for APSC | Role of Women in Socio Economic Development of North East
Role of Women in Socio Economic Development of North
Women constitute nearly half of the total population and their contribution to the different fields is highly appreciated. Unfortunately women are still being suppressed and oppressed in different forms of social, economic and political sphere.
Women in India are not free from different types of harassment, gender prejudices or gender bias in different spheres of life. North east India comprises seven states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura; popularly known as the ‘Seven Sisters’. The region is less known to the other parts of the country except on a few occasions when some news flash through the print and electronic media. As such information on the condition of women in the North East is also less known to those interested in the women’s issue.
It is a fact that women of North East India are enjoying a better position in the society, particularly the tribal women compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country.
Since ages North East Indian women have shared a significant social space as compared to most of the contemporaries living in the other parts of the Indian subcontin ent. Apart from doing household chores, the women have shared the work on the field and helped in generating income along with their male counterparts. This has decreased the dependency on the men. For example, among the tea tribes of Assam it is womenfolk who are considered the perfect tea leaf plucker and hence are the primary bread earners of the family.
A lot of women centric social evil practices are not prevalent in NE India unlike the other parts of the country. Evil practices such as Sati, dowry, female infanticide, honour killing are non-existent among the natives of the region. But that doesn’t mean that they are better or high status. The fact that women in North east have to face various social and economic problems such as illiteracy, poor health, domestic violence, early marriage, gender discrimination of age, discrimination in in democratic participation in the decision making at the grassroots or traditional institution at the cost of customary law.
Indicators of better female participation in socio economic development in the Northeast India:
1. Female Literacy Rate: The states having high female literacy rate lie in North east India except in Arunachal Pradesh.
2. The female work participation rate (FWPR) is higher in mostly hilly regions. Except Assam, Manipur and Tripura the FWPR is higher than all India average. Higher FWPR can be partially explained by the fact that the community based organisation of subsistence production requires a high level of women labour participation.
3. The gross enrolment ratio of NER is comparatively higher than some of the other states like Bihar, Goa, UP Chandigarh etc.
4. The Census 2011 reveals that the child sex ratio in NER is comparatively higher than the rest of the country like Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan and UP.
5. The percentage of married women participating in the decision making of the household is more than the national average.
From the discussion of the facts and figures on certain indicators, it is clear that the status of women in NER is comparatively better than the rest of the country. However, some puzzling contradictions occur within each state like whereas the literacy rates are higher in Nagaland and Assam but at the same time Gross Enrolment Rate is low, which shows a different picture.
The higher rate of female work participation in the NorthEast Region is an important variable to empower women in the society. Although the FWPR has increased some part of NER, the question lies in what type of work the women
are engaged in, because women are more vulnerable to the informal sector. Economic development doesn’t guarantee gender equality.
Therefore, it requires specific policy to achieve gender development and gender equality. A detailed study of women status even at district level is necessary to have the right information for effective planning and implementation of govt. policies.