Reports

Status of Women's Commissions

01 February 2014 Share: facebook share twitter share

This report analyses the functioning and impacts of state-level Women's Commissions and provides recommendations to make them more vibrant, responsive and accountable to their mandates. It was part of a larger study on the status of 5 different Statutory Commissions for socially excluded groups (Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities) initiated by PACS and carried out by Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA).

The Constitution of India grants equality to women, and also empowers the state to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women for their socioeconomic and political advancement. The National and State level Commissions are statutory bodies mandated to investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws of the country. Fundamental rights, among others, ensure equality before the law, prohibit discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and guarantee equal opportunities to all citizens in matters relating to employment. Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a), 39(b), 39(c) and 42 of the Constitution are of specific importance in this regard. 

This report analyses the functioning and impacts of Women's Commissions based on empirical studies and consultations carried out in four states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal). It describes the nature of the mandates of these Commissions, the experiences of people in rural and urban areas with respect to the functioning of these Commission and identifies factors that have influenced their performanc. It also makes suggestions for making Women's Commissions more vibrant, responsive and accountable to their mandates across the country.

This study was part of a larger study of five different Statutory Commissions for socially excluded groups (Commissions for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities).

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