India: Activists Press for Participation of Muslim Women

Times of India

Groups working with Muslim women in the city came together to demand more inclusion in the state's women draft policy that is currently under review.

The draft prepared by the department of women and child was released by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on March 8 and a committee has now been set up to review the feedback received from various social groups.

For starters, the policy needs to clearly address the question of Muslim women in its objective. "The policy should spell out its effort to increase the participation of Muslim women in mainstream activities as well as have affirmative action for them," said educationist Farida Lambay. She pointed out that there was very little mention of the security of tenure for Muslim women in terms of housing or even identity cards such as ration cards, or Aadhar.

The gathering under the aegis of the Federation of All Minority Educational Organisations thought the education of minority girls and scholarships were crucial issues that needed underlining in the policy, particularly in terms of simplifying the paperwork involved.

Nasreen Contractor of the Women Research and Action Group pertinently pointed out that Muslim women had been completely absent in the framing of the draft policy, a lacuna that needed correcting in the process of policy-making.

The policy must spell out the need for a women's monitoring committee that could oversee the implementation of schemes related to minorities and track their budget spending, believed the group.

Fauzia Khan, minister for state women and child development who chaired the gathering assured that the government would deliberate on every suggestion that had come up from minority groups and would incorporate appropriately.

The draft policy has come in for flak from women's groups as well, many of whom believe the draft has tried too many multiple tasks, which are not feasible in practice.

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