NEW DELHI: Dubbing female foeticide problem her ”National priority number one,” Renuka Choudhury on Monday took over as Minister of State with independent charge of Women and Child Development.
In that sense women in India are ”more endangered than tigers,” Choudhury told journalists after assuming office at Shastri Bhavan. ”We have to raise the red flag.” The new Minister described the gender population gap as ”alarming” and said that measures being taken had clearly not proved enough.
She said the women to men ratio was feared to reach 20:80 by the year 2020. The aberration was already beginning to show in the social fabric in some parts of India, she said. Between them, women and children — the department’s constituency — make up 720 million of India’s billion people. Choudhury counted expanding crèches, protecting women against domestic violence, tackling problems of sex workers and strengthening integrated child development services among goals she intends to pursue. She stressed gender budgeting– introducing gender equity considerations at the basic levels of economy. ”We are here to empower women,” Choudhury said, adding that this included confidence and authority by which she can protect herself. In this context she also spoke of protecting women against workplace sexual harassment. Choudhury spoke of women’s role as individuals besides being the bearer of children, dismissing any concerns of limitations in jobs or careers and asserting equality ”on all fronts.