15. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer.
National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body constituted in 1992 under National Commission for Women Act, 1990 and seeks to preserve and promote the rights of women. Women face a lot of challenges and discrimination in every sphere of life, starting from nutrition, education, inheritance rights, salaries, etc.
Success in tackling problems of women:
• It supported the shah Bano case as a legal means to reform the harsh laws of Islam.
• Did Field surveys for collection of data on the status of Muslims women for a rational response.
• Recommended reforms in legislations and policies of the State.
• Made campaigns to enforce recommendations of Sachar Committee for reservations in educational institutions and jobs besides empowering women.
• It has acted suomoto and provided speedy justice in many cases, reviewed Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994 and many other women centric laws.
• It organizes workshops, seminars for the awareness drive.
• Has been active with respect to victims of NRI marriages.
• Members are mostly linked to political party in power, so they can’t be expected to go against any policy or action of the government.
• Members have been, at times, accused of victim blaming and made regressive statements against gender and sexuality.
– Commission has been in controversy during Guwahati molestation case, and Mangalore pub attack case and by controversial statements made by members of the commission.
• Lack of adequate funds allocated to body depriving it of helping a complainant financiallyand supporting campaigns of any kind.
• Its composition is basically of Government nominated members. As such the independence of working is lacking in the NCW.
• Even though it has been provided with quasi-judicial functions the implementation of them seems abysmal.
• It could not change the patriarchal mindset established in the society. The way people think about women in India is a big cause for concern. People think women have to be submissive and obedient, that they cannot question the family, and cannot be independent.
• Powers are recommendatory and not mandatory.
• Lack of power to summon individuals before it unlike National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
• Chandigarh, which has one of the worst sex ratios, does not even have a women’s commission
• Members belonging more often to the political and bureaucratic class makes it amenable to political interference.
• More autonomy should be given to the commission and appointments for posts should be strictly merit based without any political agenda.
• Selection of politically neutral members who have contributed to or have a deep understanding of issues related to women’s’ rights.