Nutrition and Health Related Empowerment of Women (Download PDF)

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  • Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • To empower women.
  • Live with dignity as well as contribute as equal partners in national development in a non-violent and discrimination-free environment.
  • Achieving the various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .

Household-Level Indicators for Measuring Women Empowerment Viz. Nutrition and Health Issue

  • Women՚s involvement in household decision making:
    • Economic decisions (finance, expenditure, resource allocation)
    • Social and domestic matters (e. g. marriage etc.)
    • Children related decisions (like schooling, health & nutrition) .
  • Women՚s access/control over household resources (including cash, assets, income, freedom of mobility) .
  • Power & money relationship (between the spouses) ; social hierarchy; appreciation and sense of self-worth (self-esteem) .
  • Women empowerment helps a woman:
    • To realize their inner-most potential.
    • The right to access resources.
    • Make independent choices along with the freedom of decision-making.
    • Within as well as outside the household.

Some Important Laws Enacted Prior to Independence for Reducing Social Hostilities Towards Women

  • Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856
  • Female Infanticide Act, 1870
  • Married Women Property Act, 1874
  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
  • The Hindu Women՚s Right to Property Act, 1937

Various Acts to Ensure Special Provision/Preserve the Interest of Women from Immediate Post-Independence Till Date

  • Special Marriage Act, 1954
  • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  • Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986
  • The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987
  • National Commission for Women Act, 1990
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  • Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019

Schemes and Programmes with Direct/Indirect Interventions for Addressing Women՚s Health and Nutrition Related Issues

Janani Suraksha Yojana (JsY)

  • A safe motherhood intervention.
  • Under the National Rural Health Mission.
  • Objective of reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.
  • By promoting institutional delivery among the poor pregnant women.
  • Each beneficiary under must have a JSY Card along with a Maternal Health Card.
  • The Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) , Anganwadi Workers (AWW) act as a link between the beneficiary and the primary healthcare provider.
  • National Health Mission (NHM) for curbing maternal and neonatal mortality.
  • Promoting institutional deliveries especially among the pregnant women belonging to weaker socio-economic strata (SC, ST, BPL households) .

National Health Mission (NHM)

  • A flagship programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Malnutrition among women is addressed.
  • Components:
    • Anaemia Mukt Bharat
    • Organization of Village Health and Nutrition Days as well as Sanitation and Nutrition days (for providing maternal & child health services along with awareness generation on maternal and child care) .
    • Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation
    • Calcium supplementation and promotion of iodized salt consumption.

Umbrella Scheme of ICDs

Anganwadi Services Scheme

  • To improve the nutrition/health status of pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • Lowering the incidence of mortality, morbidity and malnutrition among them.
  • The beneficiaries are provided:
    • Supplementary nutrition
    • Nutrition and health education
    • Immunization
    • Health check-up
    • Referral services

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) / Maternity Benefit Program

  • Launched in January 2017.
  • A maternity benefit program.
  • Has been made a pan-India phenomenon since December 31,2016.
  • The beneficiaries would receive cash incentive of ₹ 6000 during pregnancy and after intuitional delivery.
  • The scheme implementation guidelines, the software for its roll out i.e.. PMMVY – CAS and its user manual were launched on September 1,2017.
  • Under PMMVY, ₹ 2016.37 crores to all 36 states/UTs had been sanctioned during 2017 – 18 with a release of ₹ 1991.72 crores.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers receive a cash benefit of ₹ 5,000/-in three instalments on fulfilling the respective conditionalities:
    • Early registration of pregnancy
    • Ante-natal check-up
    • Child-birth registration
    • Completion of first cycle of vaccination (Applicable only for living child)
  • The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) .
  • A woman gets ₹ 6,000/- for her first living child-birth.

Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG)

  • Provides services to out-of-school adolescent girls (11 – 14 years) .
  • Self-development and empowerment.
  • Improving nutritional & health status.
  • Promoting awareness regarding health, hygiene and nutrition, giving support to out of school adolescent girls for successfully transiting back to formal schooling or bridge learning/skill training and upgrading their home-based life skills.

POsHAN Abhiyaan

  • Launched in December 2017.
  • To improve nutritional status of adolescent girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers in a time bound manner.
  • Educated, well-nourished and healthy girls will grow into well-nourished adolescent girls later on becoming healthy women and mothers.
  • Perpetuating an inter-generating cycle of healthy progeny.

Ways of Empowering Women in Nutrition and Health Related Aspects

  • Dietary diversification or bringing variety in the household diets.
  • Adopting nutrient enhancing techniques like mutual supplementation, germination, fermentation, etc. in their day-to-day cooking/food preparation for the household.
  • Promoting the use of nutrient rich local/seasonal/under-utilized foods or the so called commonly-discarded foods (e. g. radish leaves, pea-peels, cauliflower stalks etc.)
  • Homestead-gardening to maximize sustainable gain at the household/community level (increasing availability, access and consumption of wide variety of nutritious foods) .
  • In rural settings, promoting mixed cropping and integrated farming systems.
  • Using fortified/bio-fortified foods, especially micronutrient-enriched foods.
  • Inculcating the habit of food and water conservation among family members with due emphasis on avoiding wastage at all levels.
  • Nutrition education to encourage the consumption of nutritious, safe and healthy diets.

Priorities (National Policy for Women 2016 Draft with Reference to Women՚s Nutrition and Health)

  • Lowering the soaring Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) .
  • Increasing the outreach and capacities of ASHAs, ANMs and AWWs including that of the skilled home birth professionals in backward areas.
  • Organizing special health camps for the prevention and treatment of diseases affecting pregnant women/nursing mothers (anaemia, under nutrition, etc.)
  • Launching special drives for imparting nutrition health education.
  • Ensuring availability of nutritious and safe food through PDS particularly for the unreached women and children.
  • Expansion of Health insurance schemes Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for benefitting the vulnerable and marginalized women in particular.

The Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Gender Snapshot Report (2019)

  • Aegis of SDG-2 (Zero Hunger) .
  • Unequal power relations at the household-level render women more susceptible to food insecurity than men.
  • Women/girls are often the shock absorbers in any crises situation or whenever food prices soar.
  • Consuming less nutritious food in order to support the families.
  • Tend to spend more time & energy than men/boys in securing and cooking food for the household consumption.
  • The gender gap is wider among the less educated, poor and the rural households.
  • Aegis of SDG-3 (Good Health and Well Being) :
    • For majority of the women/girls.
    • Gender discrimination challenges their access to healthcare.
    • Various reasons like limited financial resources, restricted mobility, etc.

- Published/Last Modified on: October 6, 2020

Economy, Agriculture/Agro Industries, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Kurukshetra

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