Women and Children
Investing in child development is the key to building a better future for any nation. The values, education and health of children directly influence the social and economic indicators of countries and also shape its global standing. Hence, it is vital that children have access to civic, social and moral education; health care services and exposure to the latest developments across fields (scientific, technological, cultural, arts, educational etc.). While there have been significant improvements in childcare in India, there remains work to be done in many areas including health services, sanitation, education, especially for children in rural and tribal communities.
Similarly, women, both within and outside the family unit—are a critical metric for measuring the development and progress of any nation. In the Indian context, the women’s movement has come a long way, with visible progress on many fronts such as education and health of the girl child. This progress is hard earned and has been a result of efforts from all fronts on this issue, including agencies and schemes of the Central and Local Government, NGOs, voluntary organizations and most importantly, individual women who have altered the fabric of India through their consistent efforts and courage.
Mentioned below are the areas that require attention for improving child development in India:
Nutrition, Health and Hygiene
- Awareness about malnourishment among children, especially in marginal areas; mid-day meals in schools etc.
- Maternal health and reproductive care awareness; home counseling to mothers; access to menstrual health care products; hygiene kits in rural schools etc.
- Awareness about communicable and other diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia and hepatitis; immunization in rural areas; sanitation and hygiene intervention etc.
- Acknowledging emotional resilience in adolescence etc.
- Awareness about mental well-being, breaking the stigma of seeking help from mental health professionals etc.
Accessibility to basic education; availability of quality textbooks and stationery in rural schools; awareness about the pressure to pursue household work for rural girls; leadership skills; retention of children in schools; vocational education; improving reading and imparting basic arithmetic skills; job-oriented skill training; technologically advanced school supplies such as e-books and computers etc.
- Childhood Development: awareness about nutritional requirements before birth till the school-going age, awareness about play-based learning, dealing with exam stress and preparation, daily interaction with children about their activities and schedule, participation in interactive holistic activities etc.
- School Infrastructure: availability of essentials such as desks, school transportation, broadband connection, mid-day meals, libraries, laboratories, playgrounds; sustainable infrastructure – building green schools etc.
- Online Learning: popularizing digital literacy, providing wider subject choices, remote education, improving technical skills, encouraging time-management etc.
- Teach-the-Teachers: awareness about teacher training in rural areas, tier 2 and tier 3 cities; comprehending the use of technology; professional development etc.
- Sports: awareness about physical and psychological growth and development, encouragement to students for pursuing careers in sports, sports infrastructure, supporting budding talents, training physical education instructors, encouraging child’s all-inclusive growth etc.
- Extra-curricular Activities: enhancing other skills in children – speaking, critical thinking, social, interactive time-management, team spirit, healthy competition etc.
- Digital Detox: awareness about overusing social media platforms and excessive screen time, awareness of the importance of the sleep cycle etc.
- Prevention of Bullying: awareness about bullying during formative school years, forming anti-bullying committees, access to counselling for children, encouraging positive school/college climate, mental health issues etc.
- Career Counseling: awareness about various streams, identifying impactful work opportunities, skill-based training, industry exposure insights, scholarship awareness, exploring international universities, guided career assessment, vocational trainings etc.
- Speech and Language: learning regional languages, improving communication skills, early detection and awareness of autism, down syndrome, speech issues etc.
- Specially-abled Children: awareness about special teaching amenities such as braille books; availability of special toilets and ramps in schools; training and teaching professionals etc.
- Reducing Indifference: bridging the educational, infrastructural and social gap between urban and rural children
- Safety and Self-defense: basic self-defense lessons, discussions about eve-teasing, awareness about safety precautions in public transport and public places etc.
- Substance Abuse: awareness about ways in which children fall into substance abuse traps (peer pressure, bad elements etc.), awareness about triggers such as behavioral changes and psychological stress, awareness about ill effects, family and child therapy etc.
- Awareness about child protection legislations in India: juvenile justice (Care and Protection of Children Act 2000; Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009; Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016; Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006)
- Child Labor: awareness about children’s rights such as Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, physical and mental exploitation of children, child trafficking, hazardous work environment etc.
- Culture and Awareness: amplifying Indian and world history, tribal history, knowledge about freedom fighters, promotion of cultural diversity and heritage wonders, celebrating festivals, promoting linguistic diversity, assimilation and integration amongst communities etc.
- Music: awareness about rich musical heritage, cross-cultural exchange, building language adaptability etc.
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation: awareness about resources for start-ups from early age, skill development, latest technological innovations etc.
- Children as Nation Builders: platforms for voice of youth, awareness about national responsibility, awareness about volunteerism etc.
- Latest Youth-driven Topics: sustainability, climate change, mental health awareness, gender equality, vegan diet, nation building, water conservation, inclusive development, substance abuse, technological innovations etc.
Mentioned below are the areas that require significant changes and developments in order to improve the living condition for women in India
- Maternal Care: awareness about timely check-ups, monitoring weight gain during pregnancy, risk triggers for miscarriage, pre- and post-pregnancy nutrition, adverse impact of tobacco and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, female infanticide etc.
- Menstrual Care: menstrual health awareness, ways to maintain hygiene and sanitation, materials to be used for menstrual hygiene etc.
- Birth Control and Family Planning: importance of family planning, how to avoid unplanned pregnancies, birth control methods, preventing teen pregnancies etc.
- Child Care: awareness of the nutritional needs of children in different age ranges (01- years, 1-2 years, 2-5 years, 5-10 years and so on), timely vaccination, need for educating children properly, government aided creches etc.
- Nutrition and Health: literacy about nutrition deficiencies leading to ailments such as anemia, reproductive health, ways to maintain hygiene and sanitation for self and the living area, importance of mental and emotional health in addition to physical wellness etc.
- Education: awareness about the legal right of compulsory and free education from ages 6-14, leveraging Government (Central and Local) schemes and scholarships, mentoring and educating girls etc.
- Career Building: counseling for types of career options and awareness about pay scales, mentoring for career growth, awareness of vocational courses, developing vocational skills, scholarships, support for working mothers etc.
- Gender Bias: awareness about socio-cultural issues such as female infanticide and under-aged marriage, equal opportunities in the schooling system, workplace opportunities and biases, mentoring women through different stages of career etc.
- Self-defense, Safety: basic defense skills, rights in case of domestic violence, awareness about safety precautions in public transport and public places, prevention of sexual harassment etc.
- Women Entrepreneurship: resources for start-ups, learning opportunities in the form of information/courses about financing options, marketing assistance, networking, awareness about women centric/led firms and brands etc.
- Financial Independence: financial literacy (for example, how to use the banking system (opening of accounts, withdrawing money etc.)), developing vocational skills, knowledge about different financial investments, importance of equal pay for equal work etc.
- Awareness about legal rights of girls and women in India: right to education (86th amendment of the Indian Constitution 2002 and Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Act 2009), labour rights (Factory Act 1948), maternity benefits and leave (Maternity Benefit Act 1961), domestic violence (Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005), dowry extortion, minimum legal age for marriage, information and awareness about Government schemes and facilities (Sukanya Samridhi Yojana 2015; Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao 2015, Angadwadis etc.), information about legal defense resources etc.
- Artisans: showcase of female artisans (national, State/UT, rural, tribal artisans) along with their skills/expertise
- Other Areas: other relevant areas of growth and opportunities for women development