Social Service

Gender and Development

Gender based discrimination that assigns to women lesser status and power, is deeply ingrained in the consciousness of both men and women and has remained remarkably stubborn, being generally viewed as a natural corollary of the biological differences between them. Religious beliefs, cultural practices and the educational system, reinforce this. The existing highly unequal economic and political structures by class and gender and systems of male domination that, on the one hand deny or limit women's access to economic resources and on the other impose sexual divisions of labour that allocate the most onerous, unpaid or poorly paid tasks to women inside and outside the household, adds to their vulnerability. The experiences of women with the development process as revealed by the Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India

(CSWI) in the early 70s were largely inimical to their needs and interests. In fact one of the shocking discoveries of the Committee (1974) was that the dynamics of social change and development in post Independent India, despite almost three decades of planned development, had adversely affected a large section of women and had created new imbalances, manifested specifically in declining work participation rates and a declining sex ratio.

A debate was sparked off on issues surrounding women's rights – to gainful employment when they did not have it; to recognition of their substantial contribution (paid and unpaid) to the national economy and towards their families' survival; to adequate rewards to their labour they do not enjoy;and to a share of resources, benefits and decisions regarding development to which they are entitled as citizens of a country which guarantees to them equality in all spheres of life. Perhaps the most useful debate in terms of visibility of women's contribution to the economy has been around women's work. The inferior position of women in the labour market has been extensively discussed; over 60 percent of women in India still engage in household duties and are out of the labour force; and 30 -40 percent of self employed women are unpaid workers. Agriculture and related activities still continue to absorb almost 75 percent of the rural working women. It is also estimated that 81 percent of the rural women workers belong to socio-economically marginalised communities, with little voice and agency. The persistence of a high proportion of unpaid women workers within the officially enumerated female work force, continues to be an enigma.

To capture this scenario of gender inequality among the member nations, UNDP started to publish Gender Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Index (GEM) together with the Human Development Index (HDI) from 1995 onwards. These indices capture women's status in terms of their health, education, economic participation, control over economic resources, and political participation.

From 2010 onwards UNDP has started to release another index intended to measure the level of inequality sustained in societies. Gender Inequality Index (GII) is an attempt to have a clearer understanding of gender inequality as it prevails in three important aspects of human development, namely, 1) *Reproductive health, 2) Empowerment and 3) Economic status. According to the performance in the GII, India's status has been very dismal. In a list of 155 countries it occupies an abysmal position of 130 with a GII value of 0.563 whereas the top ten countries have values below 0.05. This signifies not just a big gap between our country and the developed societies but also serious flaws in both the policies and in their implementation by the state to mitigate gender asymmetries. According to the Human Development Report released in 2015 the indicators "highlight areas in need of critical policy intervention and it stimulates proactive thinking and public policy to overcome systematic disadvantages of women" .

*Of these the factor of Reproductive health is calculated by measuring the maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent birth rates, Empowerment is calculated by the working out the ratio between the total number of seats and the number of women representatives in parliament and the proportion of adult females and males with secondary education, and the third factor of economic status is calculated by analysing the labour market participation of women.

Kerala is very well known for its achievements in the area of social development. Its human development indicators have remained much higher compared to other states within India. Several scholars have equated Kerala's achievements in the context of health and education with that of some of the developed countries. In the Gender Inequality Index mentioned above the state's performance in the context of maternal mortality rate, adolescent birth rates and proportion of adult females with secondary education have remained quite impressive. However, gender disparity is quite evident in the realms of two forms of participation: one is labour participation, and two political participation. Women's participation in the labour market and their presence in the state legislatures and parliament have been comparatively very low. This appears to be a paradox when compared to women's achievements in the areas of education and health. The state is yet to improve its performance in order to translate these achievements into better participation of women both in the realms of economy (labour market) and in politics.

With 52 per cent of the population consisting of women, Kerala is a state known for its positive sex ratio. The overall sex ratio of Kerala is 1084 females per 1000 males up from 1058 in 2001.Though child sex ratio has remained more or less constant over the period 1991-2011, yet a fall from 963 in 2001 to 959 in 2011 is a matter of concern. The proportion of child population in the age group 0-6 decreased from 11.9 per cent in 2001 to 10.4 per cent in 2011; the proportion of male child population declined from 12.5 per cent to 10.4 per cent and that of the female from 11.3 per cent to 9.8 per cent.In central Kerala, it is below the state average. However, the child sex ratio of Kerala is much better than the national average of 914. A comparison of Kerala's Sex Ratio to that of all India and other neighbouring States is given in Appendix 4.90.

Literacy And Education

At 92 per cent, the female literacy rate in Kerala is the highest among Indian states. However, the male literacy rate in Kerala is still higher at 96 per cent (Figure 4.10). Hence a small gender gap exists. But it is seen that the gender gap has narrowed during these 6 decades.

Figure 4.10
Literacy Rate in Kerala

Source: Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority

In the case of education, enrolment is universal at the primary level and gender parity has been achieved; girl students constitute 49.4 per cent of total student enrolment in schools. Girls outnumbered boys in terms of enrolment in higher secondary education at 52.34 per cent. Dropout rates are low for both boys and girls. At the tertiary level also, the enrolment of girls is higher than boys. For example, girls constitute 71.54 percent of total enrolment for degree courses in various Arts and Science colleges under the four general universities in Kerala during 2015-16. When post-graduation is considered, the girls' position is highest with 72.61 per cent. Hence, girls perform well in terms of education in Kerala. But when the intake of girls in engineering colleges and polytechnics is considered, the situation is different. Out of the total enrolled students, girls constitute only 39.87 per cent in engineering colleges and 32.76 per cent in polytechnics(Table 4.21). The high levels of education of women do not however, appear to be translated into marketable skills reflected in low levels of work force participation.

Table 4.21
Enrolment of Girls and Boys at Different levels-2015-16

  Boys Girls Total Per cent of Girls
School Education 1869255 1832322 3701577 49.50
Higher Secondary 182826 200756 383582 52.34
Graduation 65564 164783 230347 71.54
Post Graduation 9056 24008 33064 72.61
B Tech 4022 2348 6370 36.86
M Tech 639 742 1381 53.73
Total Engineering 4661 3090 7751 39.87
Polytechnic 21587 10518 32105 32.76

Source: Source: DPI, DCE and DTE, 2015

13th Five Year Plan Working Group on Gender

The State Planning Board constituted a Working Group on Gender as part of the formulation of the Thirteenth Five Year Plan (2017-22 ) with Co-chairpersons as Sri A. Shajahan IAS, Secretary to Government, Social Justice Department and Ms MeeraVelayudhan, Sr. Policy Analyst, Centre for Social and Environment Concerns (CESC), Ahmedabad. The Working Group has discussed the achievements with regard to the plan projects launched in the sector during the last two Plan periods and also outlined special problems of growing violence against women, their economic disempowerment, severe problems of marginalised social groups and strengthening gendered governance at the local level. The Working Group has submitted the draft report focusing on the various issues related to Gender including Transgenders and has also put forward the project ideas to be implemented in the coming years.

Health Status of Women In Kerala

In Kerala, most of the health indicators are highly favourable to women. Health indicators of women in Kerala are much better than their counterparts in the country as well as their male counterparts in the State. Life Expectancy at birth of women in Kerala at 76.9 years is the highest in India; much higher than for women in India as a whole, which is 67.7 years. As per the figures released by Registrar General of India, all the demographic indicators seem to be favourable in Kerala (Table 4.22).

Table 4.22
Health Status of Women in India and Kerala

Sl. No Indicator Kerala India
1 Death Rate #   6.6 6.5
    Male 7.6 6.9
    Female 5.7 6.1
2 Infant Mortality Rate #   12 37
    Male 10 35
    Female 13 39
3 Mean age at effective marriage      
    Male 27.3 23.2
    Female 21.4 20
4 Knowledge and practice of Contraceptive Use by Currently Married Women   97.3 94.5
  58.7 50.2
5 Maternal Mortality Ratio 66 66 178
6 Expectancy of Life at Birth Male 71.4 62.6
    Female 76.9 67.7

Source: SRS Bulletin, Govt of India and Directorate of Health Services, Kerala

When we look at the data on the number of patients in various hospitals (data given by Directorate of Health Services, Kerala) in the state during the last year, it is seen that the number of women is lower than that of men except in the cases of diabetics and blood pressure (Table 4.23).

Table 4.23
Number of Patients 2015 - 2016 (up to Nov 2016)

Name of the disease Number of Patients 2015 - 2016 Service
Male Female Total
Cancer 22911 21368 44279 48.26
Diabetics 917276 1002429 1919705 52.22
B.P 1029662 1137907 2167569 52.50
Heart diseases 70567 60388 130955 46.11
Stroke 27518 21636 49154 44.02
mental diseases 82082 70412 152494 46.17
Bronchitis 591373 565245 1156618 48.87
Lung diseases 37344 32363 69707 46.43
Asthma 474020 443404 917424 48.33

Source: Directorate of Health Services, Kerala

However the State has to do much more in areas like economic participation and political empowerment of women so that they can reap the benefits of enhanced and equitable development. It is generally agreed that the attainments in health and education can be considered as the pre-conditions for the take-off and the other two can be considered as the measures of take-off.

Women's Participation in Employment

In countries with high human development, the share of economically active women seems to be high. Labour Participation Rate (LPR) of women in 10 countries having highest Human Development Index is around 60 percent and that of men is around 70 percent (Human Development Report, 2015). It is surprising to note that Female LPR is much higher in some of our neighbouring countries, whose HDI rank is lower than that of India. For example Female LPR in Bhutan is 66.4, in Cambodia is 78.9, in Bangladesh is 57.3, in Nepal is 54.3, and in Myanmar is 85.7 (Source: HDI Report 2014). It cannot be ignored that less women in labour force means under-utilization of human resources that holds back productivity and economic growth.

Women of Kerala outperform their male counterparts in many developmental indicators. But in the case of economically active persons, the outcome is not favourable to women. There are two major sources of data on workers, unemployed, and non-workers- Census and the Quinquennial Rounds on Employment-Unemployment of the NSSO. Given the more inclusive definition of "worker" in the NSSO, the latter is generally used for understanding the employment situation in a country/state and therefore NSSO data has been referred to in this section. The Census has the advantage of readily available data at a disaggregated regional level of the district or even lower.

As per the 68th Round of NSSO (for the year 2011-12), a wide gap between male and female LPRs (principal and subsidiary status) is seen in the State. While the State average is 40.3 per cent, female LPR (per 100 persons) in Kerala is 24.8 percent and that of male is 57.8 percent. Consequently the difference between male and female LPR in Kerala is very high. Himachal Pradesh with a female workforce participation rate of 49.8 percent is the best performer. It is surprising that the North-eastern states like Nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya too have higher FWPRs than Kerala. Hence we have to relook at our strategies in this direction and perhaps learn from experiences elsewhere; the need to empower Kerala women with decent employment is urgent.

Disaggregating by region, we find that the labour force participation rate of women in rural Kerala is lower than that of India. But in urban areas, labour force participation of Kerala women is better than that of their counterparts at the all India level (Table 4.24).

Table 4.24
Labour Force Participation Rate for Kerala and India (percent) Urban and Rural (PS+SS)*

Year Rural Urban
India Kerala India Kerala
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1987-88 54.9 33.1 55.8 33.6 53.4 12.9 59 26.1
1993-94 56.1 33 56.8 26.4 54.3 16.5 59.9 25
1999-2000 54 30.2 58.7 27.3 54.2 14.7 59.1 25.4
2004-05 55.5 33.3 58.9 32.1 57 17.8 58.3 30.1
2009-10 55.6 26.5 58.3 26 55.9 14.6 56.4 23.3
2011-12 55.3 25.3 58.3 25.8 56.3 15.5 56.7 22.2

Source: Various Reports of NSSO
*Refers to principal status plus subsidiary status, the most inclusive definition of worker

A comparison of labour force participation of males and females in Kerala is shown in Figure 4.11. It is seen that the gender gap is widening over the period.

Figure 4.11
Labour Force Participation Rates of Males and Females in Kerala, in per cent

Source:Various Reports of NSSO

The gender gap in levels of employment is also brought out by the female work participation rates (Table 4.25) and while the male WPRs show a mild upward trend or constancy, there is a declining trend in female WPRs; that Kerala women have a higher participation rate in urban areas vis-a vis all India is also seen.

Table 4.25
Work Participation Rates of Males and Females in Kerala, in per cent

Year Rural Urban
India Kerala India Kerala
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1987-88 53.9 32.3 56.7 31.6 50.6 15.2 59.2 21.8
1993-94 55.3 32.8 53.7 23.8 52 15.4 56 20.3
1999-2000 53.1 29.9 55.3 23.8 51.8 13.9 55.8 20.3
2004-05 54.6 32.7 55.9 25.6 54.9 16.6 54.7 20
2009-10 54.7 26.1 56.4 21.8 54.3 13.8 54.7 19.4
2011-12 54.3 24.8 56.5 22.1 54.6 14.7 55.2 19.1

Source: Various Reports of NSSO

As per Census 2011, the FWPR of the state has increased by 2.8 points in the last decade. This may appear to contradict our findings from the NSSO of a declining female workforce participation; but it must be remembered that between 1999-00 and 2004-05 (NSSO) FWPRs had increased in Kerala as also most other states; however, in the next Round for the year 2009-10 there was a decline again. Nonetheless the rates in 2009-10 remained higher than in 1999-00 in rural Kerala but declined marginally in urban areas which is largely in line with the results of the 2001 and 2011 Census. Hence the picture if we take the latest data is one of declining female workforce participation rates in Kerala as for all- India.

Using the Census data, we find that in four districts of the state namely: Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Pathanamthitta have FWPR which is lower than that of the state as a whole. Moreover, the performance of Kozhikode and Malappuram is very poor. Two districts, namely Wayanad and Idukki have FWPR which is higher than the all-India rate. Idukki has the highest FWPR in the state as the women in the rural sector of the agrarian district are more economically active. The district-wise comparison is provided in Appendix 4.91.

Both the Census and NSSO estimates depict a picture of low work participation rates of women. As is well known it has been debated extensively in the literature that work participation of women is much higher than what is measured, given the invisibility or non-recognition of economic work that women do at home. Both the investigator (from the official sources of data collection) and women themselves do not perceive the work status of home based women workers, despite intensive efforts at broadening the concept of work. To capture this to some extent, Table 4.26 shows that a proportion of women who are enumerated as 'usually' engaged in household duties and hence non-workers, perform a number of economic activities at home- like poultry keeping, kitchen garden, and tailoring.

Table 4.26
Percentage of females( of age 5 years and above usually engaged in domestic duties in the Usual Principal Status) who carried out specified activities- All India

Sl No: Activity All India Rural All India Urban Kerala Rural Keral Urban
2011-12 2011-12 2011-12 2011-12
1 Maintenance of kitchen garden 23.3 7.8 16.5 11.3
2 Maintenance of animal resources 21.5 2.4 14.2 5.3
3 Free collection of fuel/cattle feed 43.5 5.3 16.5 3.6
4 Preparation of cowdung cake 40.9 4.6 0.7 0.1
5 Fetching water from outside 30.6 9.6 7.7 6.0
6 Sewing/tailoring etc 27.3 23.5 10.0 11.7
7 Tutoring own children or other children for free 6.8 12.0 12.2 13.7

Source: NSSO 68th Round: Participation of Women in Certain Specified Activities along with their Household Duties, Report No.559.

The role of self-employment in enhancing the share of economically active women is very important in a state like Kerala where the educational level of women is very high and women appear unwilling to take up wage employment in low paid informal jobs. Surprisingly, even with a large number of opportunities for self-employment, the share of female self-employed workers seems to be significantly lower in Kerala than many other states in India. The percentage of female self-employed workers (FSEW) in Kerala is 36.4 in rural areas and that in urban areas is 36.3. But in rural areas, percentage of FSEW is 89.5 in Arunachal Pradesh, 87.9 in Himachal Pradesh, 94.9 in Nagaland and 90.2 in Sikkim. In all these North Eastern states, FWPR is above 35 per cent (NSSO Report, 68th Round).

Gender disaggregated data on employment can capture more clearly a picture of women's economic involvement. The sectoral distribution of employment of women in Kerala (Table 4.27) shows that relative to men, a larger proportion of women are engaged in the agricultural sector. The percentage share of males engaged in service sector is much higher compared to females; however in industry the relative proportions are not very different; but a further disaggregation would show that this is because large numbers of women are engaged in low productivity, labour intensive traditional industries like handlooms, khadi, coir, and cashew.

Table 4.27
Sectoral Distribution of Employment in Kerala, in per cent

Persons Agriculture Industry Service
Male 22.8 32.4 44.8
Female 31.9 30.4 37.7
Total 25.5 31.8 42.7

Source: NSSO Report, 68th Round

Membership of females in different Welfare Fund Boards in Kerala shows the participation of women in some specific industries (Appendix 4.92). It is clear that women's participation in traditional industries is very high in which wage/ remuneration is comparatively low. For eg, among cashew workers and beedi workers, women constitute 95 per cent and 99 per cent of the work force respectively.

Together with low and declining female work force participation rates in Kerala, the inferior economic position of women is aggravated further by high rates of unemployment, in particular of educated women (Table 4.28). This suggests that there are large numbers of women who are seeking or available for work but unable to find it. The fact that the unemployment rate shows a fall in the recent year, even as work participation rate has also declined suggests that one of the reasons could be a 'discouraged worker' effect pushing women out of the workforce due to long waiting periods in the labour market for work. Some scholars argue that the decline in female work participation rate could be on account of 'income effect', that is with a growth in household income there is a tendency for women to withdraw from labour force. Needless to state this requires further probing.

Table 4.28
Unemployment Rates (PS+SS) of Males and Females in Kerala and India, in per cent

Year Rural Urban
India Kerala India Kerala
Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
1987-88 1.8 2.4 5.2 6.00 5.2 6.2 6.0 6.3
1993-94 1.4 0.8 5.5 6.6 4.0 6.2 6.6 18.7
1999-2000 1.7 1.0 5.7 5.6 4.5 5.7 5.6 20.0
2004-05 1.6 1.8 5.1 6.2 3.6 6.9 6.2 33.4
2009-10 1.6 1.6 3.2 2.9 2.8 5.7 2.9 16.8
2011-12 1.7 1.7 3.1 14.2 3.0 5.2 2.7 13.9

Source: Various Reports of NSSO

Inequality in Wage Rates

Women are engaged in agricultural work as well as in traditional industries (which mainly comes under informal and unorganized sector) in India as well as in the State (Census, 2011). But in terms of wages and remuneration, significant gender inequality exists in unorganized sector. The Table 4.29 shows average daily wage rates in agricultural occupations in the state in to all India.

Table 4.29
Average Daily Wage Rates in Agricultural Occupations in Rural India during March, 2015, in

State Sowing (including Planting/ Transplanting/ weeding workers) Gender Attainment* Index Harvesting/Winnowing/ Threshing workers Gender Attainment Index
Male Female Male Female
AP 233.87 163.46 0.70 235.32 192.42 81.77
Kerala 638.29 446.88 0.70 582.14 439.1 75.43
Bihar 225.5 185.51 0.82 218.13 196.3 89.99
Tamil Nadu 317.72 233.51 0.73 393.55 201.72 51.26
All India 238.67 194.32 0.81 238.43 203.16 85.21

Source: Wage Rates in Rural India, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt of India
Gender attainment index of wage rate is calculated by female wage rate /male wage rate.

Economic empowerment and social empowerment are complementary to each other. The economic empowerment of women is attained when they become an integral part of labour force and are gainfully employed without having to bear the full burden of household and care responsibilities. It is necessary that this is recognised, and efforts are to be taken to reduce and redistribute unpaid household and care work in more just ways promoting shared responsibility within the household, The State also plays a crucial role in designing appropriate policies/schemes that support its reduction and redistribution. Goal 5 of SDGs on Gender Equality recognises the value of unpaid care and domestic work in target 5.4 of SDG (Box 4.13).

Sustainable Development Goal- Gender

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Source: Official website of UNDP

Women in Political Leadership

Political representation is taken as an important dimension to measure gender position in many of the indices currently being used. For example, Gender Inequality Index developed by UNDP measures empowerment by the proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females. The Global Gender Gap Report brought out by World Economic Forum measures political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment and health and survival.

Achievements in health and education have empowered the women of Kerala and enabled them to take part in the practices of democracy. Democracy will be complete only when the women get equal participation in direct decision making too. It is in this regard that the representation of women in legislative bodies becomes important. Political participation must not be restricted to casting votes during elections. Rather women must occupy leadership positions in decision making bodies. Women of the state can be empowered through their direct participation in policy making. An appropriate example is the local governments in Kerala, where 50 per cent of the seats are reserved for women including the higher positions in the local bodies

However, gender empowerment is politically meaningful only if women have decision making powers in higher bodies like State legislatures and Parliaments. The developed nations with high HDI levels have a much higher representation of women in their legislative bodies. The top eight countries where percentage of women in legislative bodies is high are Norway (39.6 per cent), Sweden (44.7 percent), Iceland (39.1 per cent), Denmark (39.1 per cent), Belgium (38.9 per cent), Finland (42.5 per cent), Netherlands (37.8 per cent) and Cuba (48.9 per cent).

However the achievements of the state with respect to women representation in the Central and State Legislative bodies are not noteworthy. The same is the case when we take women in India as a whole. It is quite surprising that the women's status in the state in this regard is lower than that of many states in India as also the all India average (Table 4.30 and 4.31).

Table 4.30
Elected Women in Lok Sabha- India and Kerala

Year All India Kerala
Total No. of Seats Women Per cent of Women Total No. of Seats Women Per cent of Women
2009 543 58 10.7 20 0 0
2014 543 62 11.5 20 1 5

Table 4.31
Female Representation in Legislature – Kerala

Name of Legislature Number of Women Total no of seats Per cent
Kerala Legislative Assembly
2006 7 140 5
2011 7 140 5

Source: Worked out from data available at the Website of the Lok Sabha,
Rajya Sabha & Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala

Crimes against Women

As per the figures brought out by the State Crime Records Bureau, the total reported cases of crime against women are increasing over the period. The number of 'Rape cases' has increased from 500 in 2007 to 1319 in 2016 (up to October) (Appendix 4.93). The 'cruelty by husband/relatives' still constitutes a major component in crime against women. As per data from National Crime Records Bureau, Kerala is a state where 'Rate of total cognizable Crimes' (incidence of crime per one lakh female population) is much higher than the national level. Even when we want women to come out of their homes and take up employment, the safety of women is a serious issue. Greater efforts are required in this direction, to enable women to take up gainful economic activities outside the home. As shown in Figure 4.12, the number of crime against women in Kerala is steadily increasing from 2007 to 2014.

Figure 4.12
The number of crimes against women in Kerala (2007-2014)

Source: State Crime Records Bureau

Transgender Policy in Kerala

The presence of transgender (TG) is now being increasingly accepted in the society. However, the survey conducted by the Social Justice Department on TGs reveals that they are unable to acquire even basic capabilities essential to a life of well-being and dignity. While women's interests and expressed needs are now accepted, at least partially, widespread and intense conservatism denies the same status to the interests and demands of people of non-normative sexual orientations, and though they have gained legal recognition, they face terrible invisibility and violence. "The condition of non-normative sexualities in Kerala cannot be described as only that of deprivation-then lack of resources that cause ill- being. Rather, it is better described as abjection – which refers to a form of 'enforced invisibility' of these people in the eyes of civil society and the state" (Draft Report of Working Group on Gender, State Planning Board, 2016).

Hence, interventions for inclusion of TGs cannot be limited to merely economic measures.The recent Supreme Court judgments, have given some space to remedy certain of the issues of TGs. While the recognition of all non-normative sexual orientations as legal remains a distant dream , the Honourable Supreme Court of India (vide Judgment dated April 15, 2014) firmly established the right to equality and equal protection for transgender persons (TGs) and emphasized their right to live free from discrimination on the ground of gender identity. Following the Supreme Court Judgements, to understand the issues faced by TGs, the Social Justice Department of the Government of Kerala (GoK) conducted a State-wide survey seeking information on all aspects of their social and personal life. The survey, which collected information from over 4000 TG individuals, indicated that their population in Kerala may be over 25,0003 .

Box 4.14
Transgender Policy of Government of Kerala, 2015

Kerala is the first State in India which declared a Transgender Policy in 2015. GOK has issued a rights based State Policy for Trans genders within a clear results framework. In addition, consistent with the 2014 Supreme Court judgement, the policy allows for the self-identification of a person as a Transgender. The Policy also recommends the establishment of District-level TG Boards that can register TGs and issue identification cards. The Department of Social Justice is planning to establish these boards as soon as a Government Order is issued.

Gender Budgeting

As policies and programmes have a differential impact on women and men, it is necessary to strengthen Gender Responsive Budgeting. Gender Budget is not a separate budget for women but one in which gender has been mainstreamed. It is a methodology to assist governments to integrate a gender perspective into the Budget recognizing the economic significance of women's unpaid work in the household and the need for public investment in these activities. The Gender Budget Statement is an important tool for bringing together all information regarding allocations for women. It is now considered as an instrument to address gender inequality and reallocate the resources more favourably to women.This serves as an important reporting mechanism and provides an indication of funds flowing to women. It is a major step in strengthening inclusive growth.

To institutionalize the process of Gender Budgeting, the Gender Budget Statement had been introduced in the Union Budget 2005-06. Kerala is perhaps the first State to undertake a 'gender aware planning' aimed at bringing transformations in outcome for women even earlier within the context of decentralised planning in the 9th Plan Period. With the inclusion of Women Component Plan (WCP) in local bodies' annual plan, an attempt at integrating gender into the budgeting process was made and subsequently gender-responsive budgeting was introduced in the state at the time of the 9th Plan itself. With the devolution of 35-40 per cent of funds from the state to the Local Self-Government Institutions (LSGIs), the first form of Gender budgeting was seen in the state in 1996 where each Panchayat was directed to prepare a chapter on the status of women in their development plan document, 10 per cent of the plan outlay of the local bodies had to be set apart for needs of women or women specific projects. Percentage of Plan allocation and expenditure on WCP of local bodies during 11th and 12th (first three years) are given in the following Table 4.32.

Table 4.32
Percentage of Allocation and Expenditure of WCP Projects to the Total Allocation and Expenditure

Five Year Plan Per cent of WCP allocation Per cent of WCP Expenditure
11th Plan 13.22 12.35
12th Plan- first three years 10.63 10.7

Source: IKM

It is seen from the table that though 10 per cent is mandatory, in terms of allocation and expenditure, more than 10 per cent of the fund goes to women. Compared to 11th plan, percentage of WCP allocation has fallen from 13.22 per cent to 10.63 per cent and expenditure has fallen from 12.35 per cent to 10.70 per cent during 12th plan. However, since then, there has been considerable debate on the type of schemes/projects implemented under the WCP, some of which may not be gender sensitive. While the special attention given to gender in decentralised planning has left some positive imprints on outcomes and a number of good practices can be identified across the state, WCP has fallen short of expectations on advancing gender equality and is being reviewed in the context of the renewed emphasis on LSGIs and people's participation in the 13th Five Year Plan.

A conscious attempt was made at Gender Responsive Budgeting in Kerala's 11th Five Year Plan, integrating gender into the Planning/Budgeting process with a visible increase in Annual Plan allocations flowing to women over the years addressing women's felt needs, including women friendly infrastructure. The problem has been that since many projects benefit both women and men it may not be possible to capture a total estimate of the resource outlay for women due to non-availability of gender differentiated data.

In the 12th Plan while there was no conscious attempt at Gender Budgeting, in 2015 a manual was prepared on Gender Planning and Budgeting (Box 4.15) and in 2016-17 some estimates of fund flow to women were given in the Summery Document 2016-17 brought out as part of budget documents. The percentage of allocation to women in the past three years can be seen in Table 4.33. The details of expenditure related to women specific schemes and programmes in Annual Plan 2014-15 and 2015-16 are provided in Appendix 4.94.

Gender Planning, Budgeting and Auditing Manual of Social Justice Department

The Manual on Gender Planning, Budgeting and Auditing developed by Social Justice Department gives general guidance, methodology and tools on how to develop, implement, and monitor a gender action plan at the departmental level within the results framework of the GEWE Policy, 2015. As per the Manual, within each Department, the Head of Department (HOD) is responsible for Gender Mainstreaming. To fulfill this responsibility, each department must:

  • Designate a gender resource person (GRP) as a focal point in the Department
  • Strengthen the Department's capacity for Gender Mainstreaming
  • Prepare a Departmental Gender Action Plan (DGAP); and earmark funds for training and evaluation within the Department
  • Set aside sufficient budget for implementing and development purposes
  • Ensure that gender-related issues are being systematically monitored and reported by program or project managers

Steps on Gender Planning and design of Programmes, Projects and Schemes (PPSs)

  • A thorough gender analysis and identification of barriers and constraints (issues) to gender equality and women's empowerment needs to be done
  • Understand the consequences resulting from the identified barrier or constraint.
  • Prioritize and determine which of the identified issues should be best addressed through the proposed intervention
  • Identify the outputs that need to be delivered to achieve objectives.
  • Determine whether the desired outcomes or impacts will occur if the needed outputs are generated.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring will be done at two levels – Government and Departmental levels. In addition to an annual gender audit, each Department must conduct an evaluation of a sample of its projects which are wholly targeted to women (100 per cent projects) and projects which are benefited to men and women, three years after initiation of policy implementation.

Budgeting for Gender Equality

The information for compilation of gender responsible budget can be furnished in three parts:
  • Details of schemes in which 100 per cent provision is for women
  • Schemes where the allocation for women-centric activities constitute at least 30 per cent of the total provision
  • Schemes which are meant to create public goods but have the potential to affect both women and men.

Gender Audit

Each Department must conduct a gender audit in the first year after policy implementation, and once every two years thereafter.

Table 4.33
Percentage of Allocations to Women in Annual Plans, in crore

Annual Plan Total Allocation* Allocation to WCP per cent to total allocation
2014-15 15300 943.18 6.16
2015-16 15200 537.00 3.53
2016-17 18500 747.25 4.03

Source:Plan Documents *excluding LSGs Outlay

The Revised Budget for 2016-17 announced its intention of reviving Gender Budgeting in the 13th plan with at least 10 percent of total Plan outlay flowing to women, addressing their needs and interests. The major schemes benefiting women under the major departments are given in the following Table 4.34.

Table 4.34
Some Major Schemes Benefiting Women

Sl. No. Name of the Scheme Objective of the scheme
  Agriculture and Allied Sectors
1 Theeramythri and micro enterprises scheme Stabilization package for promoting livelihood diversifications and to improve the income level of fishermen families through women members of the fisher family
  Rural Development Sector
2 Indira AwaazYojana (IAY) Comprehensive rural housing programme of GOI provides dwelling units to the homeless rural poor
3 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme Flagship programmes of GOI for employment generation. Majority of beneficiaries are women
4 Mahila Coir Yojana First women oriented self- employment scheme in the Coir Industry which preside self- employment opportunities to the rural women artisans
  Health Sector
5 Women Health Care Centre (Seethalayam) Seethalayam provides aid to suffering women in the society through Homeopathic treatment.
6 Bhoomika- Gender Based Violence Management centre (GBVMC) Provide counseling services and medical and legal assistance to the victims of gender based violence.
  SC and ST Development Sectors
7 Assistance for Marriage of SC girls 50000/- for the marriage of BPL SC girl
8 Assistance to Marriage of ST girls 50000/- for the marriage of ST girl and Rs.1 lakh for the marriage of ST orphan girl
9 Janani-JanmaRaksha Timely assistance to maternal care
10 Housing scheme for the Divorcees/Widows/Abandoned Women Housing scheme for the women in these categories
11 Sarva Siksha Abhiyan To ensure universal elementary education
  Social Security and Welfare Sector
12 Institutional care to women There are 17 welfare institutions under the aegis of Social Justice Department (SJD) for the care, protection and rehabilitation of women in distress
13 Pension schemes for women Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension (IGNWP) and pension for unmarried women above 50 years are the major pension schemes.
14 Nirbhaya Envisages setting up of Nirbhaya Homes for sexually abused women so as to give skill development training for providing employment opportunities. 10 such homes were started in 9 districts which provided shelter to 200 women.
15 Gender Park It is a platform where the State, Non-Government organizations (NGO), academia and civil society can come together for learning and research on gender equality as well as to formulate innovative and new interventions to support the empowerment of women and gender equality
16 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Financial assistance to the state to empower the girl child and enable her education
17 Snehasparsham Aims to address the problems of unwed mothers
18 Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls It aims at empowering the nutritional and health status of the adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years
  Local Self Government Department
19 Kudumbashree State's poverty alleviation scheme focussing on women members of the family. Kudumbashree works through the Community Organisations at the grass root level.

Source: Plan Documents

The development policy in Kerala has been more sensitive to gender equality in terms of human resource development as reflected in the much lower gender gap in basic capabilities, such as education and health. However, the positive indicators in basic entitlements did not result in improving women's position in society. The high ranks in both literacy and health did not translate into growth of paid employment for women nor into upward occupational mobility. Female work participation rates (WPR) in Kerala remains low, even among the educated women. Also levels of gender based violence remain high and insecurity in the public sphere is prevalent.

Over time policy approaches to women have changed, from 'welfare' to 'development', 'empowerment' and now 'inclusion', seemingly towards more gender favourable outcomes. There has been a proliferation of policies, programmes and schemes since then, to assist poor women and address gender gaps in social, economic and political spheres. There also exists a visible, strong and vibrant women's movement and large numbers of women in grassroots politics. However, the concrete improvements in women's economic and social position are inadequate and there is a need to focus on the urgent need for a transformative agenda to move towards greater inclusion and gender equality. International development institutions have shifted emphasis from the MDGs to 17 SDGs with 169 targets to be achieved by 2030 in response to varied dialogues involving representatives of nation states, civil society organizations and platforms, other national and international forums. Nations are moving towards SDGs perceived as representing a more sustainable and resilient path of development and more substantial compared to previous MDGs. Goal 5 "Gender equality and empowerment of women" with a comprehensive set of 9 targets has also been mainstreamed into a majority of the SDGs and targets. Target 5.4 is to recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family.