WB finds huge gender disparities in J&K

Pallavi Sareen. Dated: 7/12/2018 12:13:38 PM

JAMMU, July 11: A World Bank report on Jammu and Kashmir finds huge gender disparities in the state in all aspects including active political, economical and educational involvement of women.
These remarks have come to light in the World Bank’s evaluation report of the Rs. 1659 Jhelum and Tawi flood recovery project.
The World Bank (WB) has made some strong remarks in the context of women empowerment. It points out that violence against women; lack of decision-making authority; lack of participation in political affairs; poor and low status of women; lack of education; lack of awareness; inadequate and unorganized health care system; and unemployment which leads to poverty as the prominent causes for the gap in genders and lack of women empowerment in Jammu & Kashmir.
The WB has emphasised the need to view women empowerment and gender justice through these barriers like restricted access to health, education, gainful employment, social and physical security, and decision–making to understand these vulnerabilities existing in the region. The report also mentions that the regional instability and conflict in Jammu and Kashmir has a big impact on the livelihood of a plethora of families living here, creating an unstable and fragile social environment in the area.
The WB has noted with concern that the region’s infant mortality rate was 37 as against India’s figure of 40. It has elaborated that female literacy remains low when compared to men. While the literacy rate has increased substantially in the last decade by 13 percent in the last decade i.e. from 55 percent in 2001 to 68.74 percent in 2011, the female literacy also increased dramatically from 42.22 percent in 2001 to 58.01 percent in 2011. Yet, gender disparities in education still exist in rural and urban areas.
There is a high dropout rate from class 10th to 12th which is 25.33 percent. Among 22 districts, the dropout rate in 12 districts is higher than the regional level dropout rate. Huge difference in gross enrolment ratio (GER) at the upper primary level and secondary level is also a cause of concern. World Bank has further said that GER at the upper primary level is 96.7 percent; whereas GER at the secondary level is as low as 63.45 percent.
The WB has added that the number of out of school children in the age group of 6-7 years is 13,077. Out of these, 5,391 are boys and 7,686 girls. Similarly, in the age group of 8-10 years, the number of children not attending schools is 16,027. Out of these, 6,605 are boys and 9,422 girls. The number of such children in the age group of 11-14 years is 20,715, out of which 8,391 are boys and 12,324 are girls.
Further elaborating on the grim picture of women empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir, the report has said that women remain under-represented across sectors and a majority of their contribution tends to be invisible. 6.8 percent of the households are female-headed and 52 percent of these female-headed households are headed by widows (Census 2011). Bank has called for the need to bring women’s concerns to the limelight and development needs a more systematic approach.
Another disappointing aspect brought out by the World Bank report is that 51.5 percent of married women aged 15–49 in urban areas suffer from anaemia. Most women are primarily responsible for household work like fetching water, washing, caring for the elderly or children, and cooking (only 42 percent women do work other than carrying out household chores). This prevents young and adolescent girls from engaging in other activities like education and hinders women from participating in income generating activities as well.



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